Ever since I first saw The Phantom of the Opera (2004) film, I dreamt of the day where I could watch it in person. I would sing the songs in my bedroom with my older sister and cry over the heartache the Phantom, played by Gerard Butler, would endure from Christine Daaé, played by Emmy Rossum. In secret, I would try to fashion my hair the way Christine wore it and I would listen to the songs on my iPod before I went to bed. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s soundtrack clutched my heart and made more emotional than anything could.
Finally, my eight-year-old dream came true: on June 12, after coming home from visiting my nephew, I played Webber’s soundtrack on the radio and my mother turned to me and said “I just can’t take it anymore.” With excitement in her eyes, my mother told my sister and I that we were all going to see the musical in person. In shock, I did not respond as my mother and sister jumped with joy.
In the upcoming days, I had dreams of how the atmosphere would be like, how the air would smell, and how emotional the audience would be. On the day of the musical, my family and I dressed up for the Pantages Theatre, only to find people sitting in basketball shorts and sandals. However, I did not let this ruin my golden dream, so I sat down and admired the room. The gorgeous decor around me was overwhelming, in a good way, and the chandelier prop in front of the stage appeared suitable for the storyline. With blue light shining down, I noticed that the lights began to dim and I looked straight forward with awe.
From the moment the opening scene began, I knew I would not be let down. The way the chandelier moved and popped around, mirroring what I saw in the film, I was filled with complete joy as I realized how authentic everything was. The costumes on the actors were elaborate and appropriate for every scene, establishing the mood of every moment. Additionally, the choreography for every song was well played out and in complete unison, something so impressive I could not help but constantly smile.
Directed by Harold Prince, there began the heartbreaking story of soprano Christine and mentor the Phantom of the Opera as well as Christine’s childhood sweetheart Raoul. As Christine (Katie Travis) began with her opening song, “Think of me”, my smile reached a size it had never before as I listened to the hypnotizing melody. But the tearjerker for me was definitely the Phantom’s (Chris Mann) “Music of the Night.” Although at intermission, my parents told me that the version they went to see years before was slightly different during the song “Masquerade,” I did not think any less of the musical.
As my favorite song creeped up, I was filled with butterflies and stress watching the Phantom emotionally break down as Raoul soared in the eyes of Christine. Finally, “The Point of No Return,” featuring Mann and Travis, began and my eyes became blurry. The lust and love on stage filled the atmosphere and I could hear the audience smile. The chemistry portrayed by the two actors was too strong to think otherwise and the emotion expressed in their voices took hold of my heart in a way the film had barely grasped.
As the final scene came to a close, I looked around to see that I was not the only one crying about Christine’s decision of loving Raoul over the Phantom. The ability for the actors to captivate the whole audience in the musical was incredible, not to mention admirable. In my opinion, Mann did an outstanding job as the whole audience stood up for him when he came on stage for his final bow. Additionally, the managers of the opera house, Monsieur Firmin (David Benoit) and Monsieur André (Edward Staudenmayer) held strong voices during their brief comedic moments on stage and deserve a round of applause. And, of course, Travis stood out by perfectly portraying Christine’s graceful disposition and tone.
On the car ride home, I felt nothing but eternal happiness, knowing that I could finally cross this dream off of my bucket list. The musical could not have played out any greater than it did and I could not ask for anymore. If you love musicals with romance and comedy, I definitely recommend seeing the Phantom of the Opera by August 2, before it leaves Los Angeles.