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The Phantom of the Opera: A Visual Delight

The Phantom of the Opera performing at the Wang Theatre can be described in two words – visual delight. The play is produced by Cameron Mackintosh, the prolific producer of four of the most successful musicals: Cats, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon; and, when his talent is brought together with the Really Useful Theatre Company, outstanding music, great sets and brilliant use of lights, a perfect harmony develops to create a lovely theatre experience.
The haunting music punctuates every scene with amazing skill. It is arguably Andrew Lloyd Webber in his prime. Winner of 20 Tony Awards, Harold Prince has directed Ted Keegan, Rebecca Pitcher and John Cuda skillfully in their roles as the Phantom, the Diva Christine Daae, and her lover Raoul.
The plot revolves around the story of a Phantom who lurks in an Opera House and how he falls in love with Christine, a chorus girl. She becomes the diva, and discovers in herself the “Angel of Music.” The Phantom continues to hold the Opera House owners to ransom, and attempts are made to get rid of him. Raoul makes a powerful character as the man who Christine is in love with and who goes to battle with the Phantom in order to rescue her.
The sets used are brilliant. In the beginning scenes a large chandelier is raised in dramatic fashion to start the entire tale of the Opera House. Subsequently, the same chandelier crashes to the floor in dramatic fashion–an act of destruction promised by the Phantom to the owners of the Opera House for not following his instructions. The entire set of scenes at the lake have a mystical feel about them: candles, a misty lake, a boat, and of course the powerful music.
Christine and the Phantom sing some memorable duets. The rendition of “Phantom of the Opera” is lovely, as are “Stranger Than You Dreamt It” and “The Point of No Return.” The visual effects of the wrath of the Phantom are outstanding, with orange flares crashing into the sky highlighting his rage. When the curtain scene comes the audience almost gasps when a black cloth covering the Phantom is yanked away to reveal an empty chair and just the mask that remains.
Tickets are hard to come by, despite the show running for an extra week. The $16 category is not bad in terms of the view of the stage, but the audio quality isn’t that great. If available, the $26 or higher sections would be a worthwhile investment. The Phantom of the Opera is a show that should not be missed!

February 12, 2001
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