Phantom of the Opera Review

Neither the pouring rain nor the threat of a notorious chandelier kept people from flocking to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in
Nashville on that cold fall evening. In fact, the chandelier was one of the main reasons they were braving the storm; that and a
chance to see a ghost. Or should I say, Phantom? The Phantom of the Opera had returned, by popular demand, to open TPAC’s
2002 – 2003 season and people were willing to face a deluge for the opportunity to see Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning
musical. Christian Activities had an opportunity to not only see the performance, but also interview Julie Hanson, who plays Christine.
“Audience members have repeatedly requested that we present this show again,” said Kathleen O’Brien, TPAC’s Senior Vice
President of Marketing. “It’s easy to understand why The Phantom of the Opera has developed a following of people who want to
see this show over and over again. There’s nothing like it in the history of musical theater. The sets, costumes, and special effects
are amazing, while the producers continue to set the highest standards in casting.”
Julie Hanson, who understudied the role of Christine Daaé for a year before assuming that role twice a week in the touring company,
has a different take on why The Phantom has maintained its phenomenal popularity. “I think aside from the beautiful music and
amazing staging, at its heart Phantom is a timeless story about love and compassion. I think everyone can relate to that. People
come for the spectacle. They come back for the story.”
Indeed, the somber tale, a sort of Beauty and the Beast Redux, has been immortalized on stage and on film, and in print, some
faithfully and some fancifully. In her novel, “Phantom,” author Susan Kay attempts to fill in the years before the Phantom took up
residence in the Opera house, while Sam Siciliano, in “The Angel of the Opera,” pits the Phantom against Sherlock Holmes.
Lloyd Webber’s musical follows Gaston Leroux’s (1868 – 1927) novel, ‘Le Fantôme de L’Opéra,’ better than most of the movie
versions of the story. Rather than a frustrated young composer disfigured by acid and left to burn by the man who stole his
masterpiece (as in the 1962 film version), Lloyd Webber’s Phantom (played by Ted Keegan) is the son of wealthy and talented
parents, born with disfigurements similar to John Merrick, a.k.a.The Elephant Man. He ends up in the lower regions of the Paris
Opéra House, seeking what his parents denied him – love. Enter stage left: Christine Daaé (Rebecca Pitcher), a beautiful
singer/dancer who receives musical training from an unseen person she knows only as The Angel of Music. Enter stage right: Raoul,
Vicomte de Chagny (John Cudia), Christine’s childhood friend who falls in love with her and is determined to save her from this
mystery man who is threatening – and killing – the inhabitants of the Opéra House.
The Phantom of the Opera is the definitive Andrew Lloyd Webber. While his Cats had ground-breaking costumes and an awesome
set, it pales beside Phantom’s 230 stunning costumes and 22 scene changes. Cats had “Memories;” Phantom has the “Music of the
Night.”
An official Web site for Phantom was launched in August, 1998. Besides finding information on the show’s tour and ticket prices, atwww.thephantomoftheopera.com visitors can find the story-behind-the-story of the musical, visit the photo gallery, explore the history
of the Paris Opéra House and the filmography of the story, and order Phantom paraphernalia. There is a forum for serious Phantom
Phans and a downloadable study guide for use in the classroom.

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