Arcadia High School

Review: The Phantom of the Opera at Pantages Theatre

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On left: the playbill for the 2015 Pantages Theatre performance; on right: the playbill for the original 1988 Majestic Theatre performance

Getting to see The Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages Theatre completely blew me away.

From the moment I walked into the theater—the Pantages Theatre is stunning; I could spend ages just staring up at the ceiling, with its painted golden beams crisscrossing over blue panels—there was a magical feeling in the air. Maybe it was the warm amber light from the chandeliers; maybe it was the swirling mist projected on the stage. I’d heard great things about this show, and I’d heard some of the songs before, but had never gotten the chance to watch the whole story unfold on either the stage or screen.

The Phantom of the Opera has been on the Broadway stage since 1988, when Andrew Lloyd Webber set the story to song and released it into musical theater. The tale itself was originally a work of Gothic fiction written in 1909 by Gaston Leroux. It is set in the City of Lights during the late nineteenth century, when the grand opera houses of France reigned supreme.

Throughout the show, the company of the Paris Opera House puts on several different operas. It was fun to watch their performances within the performance—a sort of trippy opera-ception, with a stage within a stage.

There was not a single voice among the cast that could be described as anything short of spectacular. That sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s true; the range and power of each singer was amazing, and at many points during the performance, I felt chills. With songs like “Think of Me,” “The Music of the Night,” “All I Ask of You,” “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again,” and “The Point of No Return,” I found myself completely gripped by the music.

The show was not all murky lairs and mysterious masks and starlit Gothic nights, however; there were moments of levity. “Notes” had me in stitches; the actors knew just how to evoke the right reactions from their audience.

The Phantom of the Opera was thrilling from start to finish, and the scenes transitioned into one another seamlessly thanks to moving sets and incredible stage effects. There was laughter, there were tears, and the cast set my pulse racing with every musical number. Chris Mann (who you might recognize as a finalist on NBC’s The Voice) made an enthralling Phantom—even though the Phantom was the antagonist of the story, I couldn’t help but sympathize with him and his plight. The last scene of the show had me trying (and failing) to keep tears from spilling over.

Katie Travis played the part of Christine—innocent, sweet Christine—perfectly, and I was amazed by the range her voice could reach as she nailed all of the high notes on the head.

If the show ever returns to the Pantages Theatre, I would highly recommend going to watch it. It’s a compelling tale, and I don’t think I’ll ever be tired of it.