A REVIEW – Wrong About “Phantom”
When “The Phantom of the Opera” first played before my reviewer’s eyes, some 25 years ago, at the Kennedy Center, it earned a negative notice. Looking at the show, opening night at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre, I was shocked to find how wrong I was.
Director Hal Prince’s production of the Andrew Lloyd Weber score really deserves every praise I can pour on. From the opening breath-taking flight of a chandelier over the audience until the final scene played out on the Phantom’s deserted chair, Mr. Prince hews the delicate balance between opera and Broadway musical. He must share major credit with Gillian Lynne, whose billing in the program lists “Musical Staging and Choreographer.” Between them, they keep the action flowing right along. I was impressed the other night.
Of course the quality of their cast contributes in a major way. To say the performers are all perfect may overstate reality – but not much. The man with the mask is sung by Tim Martin Gleason. His lady love rests in the beautiful hands and voice of Trista Modovan. Her real love, Raoul, assumes the handsome form of Sean MacLaughlin. I would add bravos for all 36 cast members; they are nothing if not fine. Well done.
Behind the scenes applause must go to over 100 people, including 15 musicians and 60 stagehands; this is not an inexpensive production that will stay around Baltimore’s Hippodrome two more weekends, moving along after Sunday performances, April 25.
Whatever anybody tells you – including my earlier review – “The Phantom of the Opera” represents the peak of 20th century show biz; it also incidentally holds the record for performances on Broadway. And that should tell you something.