It is a part of theatre history. It is also possibly the longest running show on Broadway. Everyone has either heard the beautiful haunting melodies or seen a version of the traveling production. Well now , you can either relive the magic or introduce someone else to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic “The Phantom of the Opera” Cameron MacKintosh is the force behind this new production as well as Matthew Bourne. Broadway in Chicago has been lucky enough to bring this classic to the Cadillac Palace and we were fortunate enough to get to see it.
The audience was abuzz as they saw the famous chandelier high above the Cadillac stage. For novices like us, we were insure what to expect. My late mother and Jen’s friend had both seen the show. Unfortunately my only exposure to the show had been through its music. For voice recitals , I had used “Think of Me” and “All I Ask of You.” My friend, Starr could only think of one thing when she talked of “Phantom” and that was Michael Crawford as the “Phantom” So the show had a lot of expectations to fufill. Jacquelynne Fontaine captured the diva “Carlotta” to perfection. Her facial expressions and voice made her a comical diva instead of an evil one. Craig Bennett and Edward Staudenmayer had the audience in stitches with their antics as Monsieurs Firmin and Andre, the directors of the company. Comedy was not in short supply, as I watched the members of the opera company in rehearsal. It reminded me of about every musical that I was in with the task master music director. Julia Rose Udine charmed the audience as the young ingenue, Christine. Her soft melodious soprano was a delighful contrast to the loud contralto of Carlotta. Ben Jacoby made a wonderful Raoul, the tortured soul in love.
I can’t say enough about Cooper Grodin. He captured the heart and soul of the title role. I didn’t get to see the orginal production with Crawford, but I believe that Grodin was just about as close as you could have got to this man in terms of voice. When he hit the last haunting note of “Music of the Night,” it just made you weep to hear that note. There was one moment of silence before the audience broke into thunderous applause. Along with his incredible voice, he captured the injured soul with his portrayal.
“Phantom of the Opera” remains one of the classics of American musical theatre. Luckily, you have a while before it vanishes. The production will be in Chicago until March 2. Maybe this is the perfect gift for that special valentine paired with a romantic dinner. Prices range from 23 to 115 dollars with premium seats available for select performances. They are also available for groups of 10 or more. For more info visit http://www.BroadwayinChicago.com .