Watching this legendary musical unfold before my eyes was an emotional and inspiring experience that I recommend to anyone who is lucky enough to enjoy it.
If you’ve seen the popular 2004 movie with Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum, you’ll be delighted to see the scenes come to life on the stage. The production value of this tour of “The Phantom of the Opera” is mind-blowing. Sets moved in and out in a fluid motion while characters continued to act in the foreground of the stage, so I barely noticed that we had shifted to a new scenery. I never felt jarred when moving from the opera to the rooftop to the dungeon.
The chandelier was one of my favorite features of the set, hanging ominously above the audience and playing its part in the play, too. It served as a perfect transition from the prologue of the story to the beginning of the musical.
Since the musical takes place in an opera house, the placement of certain characters in the theater helped bring the audience into the performance. When the crew planned to shut off all entrances to the theater to capture the phantom, we heard imaginary doors shut behind us and to our sides.
The performers were stunning in both voice and acting, bringing an emotional rawness to the musical. Derrick Davis plays the phantom, obsessed with the opera singing of Christine Daae, played by Katie Travis. Davis’ exaggerated movements match the phantom’s extreme responses and outbursts, and he manages to balance fantastic singing with a pained or stressed undertone that conveys the character’s emotions perfectly.
Travis also strikes the right balance between her character’s mixed bags of emotions and want. Christine Daae is a complicated female lead who can never quite grasp what she wants. One subtle difference, to me, from the movie counterpart is that Travis manages not to come across as weak, like the character seems in the film. Instead, Travis portrays a confused but strong young woman who is struggling with her compassion for the phantom. It felt much more appealing, and I was drawn in by her movements on stage.
All of the actors culminated to create a delightful performance of this classic show. The opera managers brought the perfect amount of comic relief in subtle ways, not overpowering or distracting. The costume design was beautiful, and the props and scenery were breath-taking.
The work that went into this performance is astonishing. I watched the movie several times growing up, and it was a pleasure to see such a powerful reenactment unfold on the stage. This tour of “Phantom of the Opera” not only does the story justice, but it brings the musical up a notch or two.
The North American tour of “The Phantom of the Opera” continues through March 5 at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. Tickets can be purchased online at www.broadwayinatlanta.com.
If you miss the tour’s stop in Atlanta, there are a few chances to see the musical in neighboring states. The phantom will visit West Palm Beach, Florida, from March 23 until April 1. Then, just in time for spring break, the cast will head to Birmingham, Alabama, from April 5 through April 16.
I highly recommend the drive to see this jaw-dropping show in person. The phantom is elusive, so take the opportunity to see him on stage while you can.