You guys, I’ve been listening to The Phantom of the Opera non stop for the past four days. When I say “non stop” I mean it. I fall asleep to it, I wake up to it, I drive to work to it, I work to it, I drive home to it, I make the surprising but not so surprising stop in InNOut to it.
Here’s the thing, I obsess over musical theatre. From Wicked to Millie, from Bright Star to Miss Saigon, all of it, obsessed. I’ve spent countless days and nights daydreaming of what it would be like if I, tone deaf Samantha Jeet, were in the production. In these daydreams I am humble, talented, witty, a favorite of interviewers, and I almost always win a Tony. I love musical theatre and everything it stands for. I will choose musical theatre over friendships. I will and I have. Actually, it was mostly the other person getting tired of listening to non stop show tunes in my car.
Back to Phantom. I enjoy this show for many reasons, one of them being there’s a freaking electric guitar in the orchestra and it’s amazing. There’s romantic angst which is the best angst to have. The music is catchy, the costumes always awesome, the special effects legit. The show is entertaining and is one anyone and everyone can enjoy. There’s comedy, romance, sorrow, an electric guitar, everything.
To date my favorite production of Phantom is the 25th Anniversary production at the Royal Albert Hall. This being my favorite production is mostly due to Sierra Boggess‘ portrayal of Christine. Homegirl killed it. The production overall is amazing, but Sierra (first name basis, yo) slayed the role and her voice in the bomb dot com. That’s all technical musical theatre speak. Below is the number “Think of Me” from the 25th Anniversary product. Please watch it and fall in love.
Though I enjoy Phantom I do have issues with it. These issues aren’t production based (lighting, acting, fx), but more issues I have with Phantom as a whole. I’m sure it’s possible for me to have issues with something and not blog about it, but I’m an adult and I do what I want. Also, writing this gives me a reason to not listen to the voice messages on my phone thus having to actually call people back.
5. The lack of backstory for Raoul
Like, where does this dude come from? Other than being childhood sweethearts with Christine and being a Viscount we know close to nothing. I know in the book there’s a lot more information but that would require a lot of effort on my part and I would rather use my energy to write a poorly researched musical theater review. Christine, I get that he’s handsome and rich and there’s history between you two, but like, what are his hopes and dreams? Where has he been all these years? What brought him back? Exactly how rich is he? Why did he decide to be a patron to the opera house? There really should have been a reunion number between Christine and Raoul. If there can be a whole musical number for the ballet/hanging then there can be a musical number for this. I would call the number “Where Have You Been?/How Rich Are You Really?”
4. The characters of Meg and Madame Giry
Do these characters superfluous to anyone else? High five to Meg for volunteering Christine to fill in for Carlotta thus starting a chain reaction of events that make up the show, but other than that what really was the point of the character? And Madame Giry? Okay, her character has a little more purpose, but still a bit annoying. We can all agree if she had been upfront about her knowledge on The Phantom a whole lot of people would still be alive. I don’t like blaming people, but everything is pretty much all her fault.
3. Christine’s struggle between Raoul and The Phantom
Christine, it’s not a hard choice. Your options are A) the good looking rich guy you’ve known since you were a child who went into the ocean to save your red scarf when he was 14 years old or B) The the guy who watched you in your dressing room through a two way mirror no one knew existed and takes advantage of your love for you dead father and wears a fedora. If the choice was between Gerard Butler and Patrick Wilson I would totally get the struggle, but it’s not. It’s between some one with massive emotional issues and a good looking viscount who is a patron to the arts.You know what? Christine actually had a third choice in this thing. It was to not choose anyone and to instead live her life singing opera at any other opera house in France and just be awesome. But that wouldn’t make for a good show so I digress.
2. Sympathy for The Phantom
The Phantom is actually a pretty horrible person when you break it down. He peeps on her through a two way mirror in her dressing room. He kidnaps her and brings her into his lair where he makes her sing for him and then gets abusively angry when she wants to see his face. He spies on her private moments. And when she shows affection for some one other than him? Well, all musical theatre heck breaks loose. Also, are we all just going to forget the small and insignificant fact that he murdered people? And to get his way he threatens to murder more people? I know he had an extremely traumatic childhood, but that’s not an excuse to murder people. All that time in the dungeons of the opera house he couldn’t find a couple of books on self healing? He couldnt spend some time to come to terms with what happened? Isn’t he supposed to a genius? I feel a genius would be able to do some self help and overcome these issues.
1. The actor who plays The Phantom gets the last bow during curtain call
Every production I’ve ever watched, whether in person or on television, the curtain call order has been Raoul, Christine, then The Phantom. The Phantom usually gets the biggest applause. I know there’s more to performing than the applause, but it’s obvious that most people in the audience see The Phantom as the star of the show. They are dead wrong. The star of the show isn’t The Phantom it’s actress who plays Christine Daae. Not only does this actress have to perform major character development in two hours, she’s has to sing those ridiculous notes. Without her they would be no show. A show without Roaul is a story about a guy obsessing over a woman and commits murder because he has emotion issues. A show without the Phantom is a show about a love story between childhood sweethearts. Both viable stories. A show without Christine? You get a story about a masked figure murdering people and writing mediocre operas and a viscount who decides to be a patron of the arts….and that’s it. Watch these videos and tell me she shouldn’t get the final bow and the biggest applause.
The amount of time and energy I’ve put into writing this review of sorts could have definitely been put to better use. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
I love talking musical theater with people so please let me know what you think below. Do you agree? Did I miss anything? Am I completely wrong and The Phantom is really just tall, dark, and mysterious?
Much Love. Always.
Author’s Note: None of the images in this article were taken by me and I do now own any of these photos.