Before we went, more like right after we booked our tickets, I started doing some research on the US tour to get an idea of how it compared to the Broadway version. The reviews I read were not the best so I was a little worried I would be let down, especially after watching the 25th Anniversary over a dozen times.
But let me tell you, I was not disappointed in the least! Okay, I was a little disappointed that the mirror bride wasn't in it, but hey. The cast, the sets, the props were all phenomenal!
A couple hours before the show we got to go to Behind the Mask, which was a Q&A with a couple of actors and the manager of the show. It was really neat to get to learn more about how the show worked and get to hear from some of the actors who weren't the main actors (although I would have loved that too!)
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
The sets were definitely different than the Broadway sets. The main set was this huge revolving piece that would open up to ever part of the opera house. I did feel that one or two of the set ups were a little bit awkward, but overall I thought it worked really well.
I do have to say, that as a costumer I did notice a difference in the quality of the costumes. I could tell that they weren't made with the same quality, mainly on the Hannibal costumes and any that had any large supports (such as Elisa's Hannibal dress and the Aminta dress from Point of no Return).
The Phantom (or Erik) had completely different makeup than in the Broadway version. In the Behind the Mask they told us that it was silicone and all one piece (and apparently quite disgusting) which is cool, but from the audience you'd have to be in the front row to really be able to see it. Our seats were only around 20 rows back and you really couldn't see the deformity. I wish they had done some sort of makeup on his lips too, because that would have helped a lot. The only reason I know what the deformity looks like is because of the picture in the Program I bought.
In the Q&A they told us to look for Erik in places he shouldn't be. The whole time I was looking around for him, but unfortunately I never saw him anywhere that he shouldn't have been.
On to my absolute favorite part, the chandelier! The chandelier has 2 very important parts, the overture and the end of act one. I got chills watching that chandelier that weighs 1 ton rising up in the beginning. It was absolutely amazing!
The whole transformation of the opera house from the auction scene to the dress rehearsal was flawless. One moment Carlotta's dress is standing on a mannequin as an item in the auction and the next she's actually in the dress dancing.
After we got our seats we went up to the stage to take a closer look at the orchestra pit, the stage set up, and the chandelier.
On to the second part that the chandelier plays, the end of act 1. In the 25th Anniversary at this part, you can see Erik up in one of the boxes (probably box 5 but I'm not sure) and he points a stick towards the chandelier, sparks go flying, and the chandelier falls. Well, pretty much the same thing happened, except the chandelier actually fell. And it was epic!
Talk about an epic way to end the first act!
|The view from our seats - this was just after the end of act I|
Apparently that chandelier falls at a rate of 10 tons and they have to reinforce the theater to make it safe since it is after all, falling directly over the audience.
The Phantom. Chris Mann is an amazing Phantom. His voice is like a combination of Ramin Karimloo and Hugh Panaro, which are my 2 favorite Phantoms, so it was perfect. Plus, he's an amazing actor!
Something I really liked about this version, is when he took the mask off (no, Christine didn't get to pull it off) it was obvious that his deformity was more than just hard to look at. It hurt him and that made me sympathize with him even more.
|Chris Mann - The Phantom/Erik|
Christine. Katie Travis is a wonderful singer and a fantastic actress! My favorite part of her's though was the end of "Wishing you were Somehow Here Again".
|With Katie Travis - Christine|
Oh, and let's not forget the title song, "The Phantom of the Opera". It was perfect. Katie Travis can hit those low notes just as good as she can it the high ones. And like I already said, Chris Mann's voice is perfect.
Roul. Storm Linberg was also fantastic! I knew when I first heard him in the auction scene that he was a winner.
|With Storm Linberg - Roul|
As was expected, the ending was extremely heart breaking. They didn't have the Phantom hide under a blanket on a chair though, it was a little different but just as amazing.
The cast got a standing ovation, which was very, very much deserved. When the curtain fell the whole theater just about exploded with applause. I thought Cinderella had a loud audience, but Phantom was even bigger. That's part of why it's Broadway's longest running show. And the fact that if I could have watched it again right then and there, I would have.
When the show was over we headed out to the stage door even though we weren't sure the cast would come out since it was a matinee. But they did and we got to meet the actors who played Carlotta, one of the swings/the gunmen in the pit (who was also at Behind the Mask), Meg, Roul, Christine, and the Phantom himself. All of which were super nice. And one of the best parts was when Chris Mann told me he liked my Phantom mask necklace. :D
|With Morgan Cowling - Meg|
|With Nick Cartell - Swing/gunmen in the pit. He was also part of the Behind the Mask.|
|With Jaquelynne Fontaine - Carlotta|
The next time the show comes into town I'm definitely going to see it, and if I can swing it I'm planning on going to the show twice.