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Phantom to change to "re-staged" production in flagship productions?- Page 7

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Elfuhbuh
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Posted: 7/30/20 at 10:19am
Again, it’s possible they’ll be using the sets from the recent UK tour, and maybe making some adjustments to those based on the fact that this will be a permanent sit-down production. The relieving thing is that it doesn’t sound like they’ll be replacing the show full-on with the restaged version, so I guess that answers the question this thread originally posed.
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The Scorpion
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Posted: 7/30/20 at 10:49am

imeldasturn said: "Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group has moved to quash reports that The Phantom of the Opera has closed permanently and has insisted the “brilliant original” will be returning to the West End.

RUG president Jessica Koravos told The Stage that reports that Phantom had closed permanently, based on an interview Cameron Mackintosh gave to the Evening Standard, were wrong, and that the show was only being closed to allow works to be carried out to both the show’s set and the theatre where it has been performed for 34 years.

She said the musical would return unchanged, using the work of the original creative team, including director Hal Prince and designer Maria Björnson, and added that when the show returns it will “indisputably be the longest-running musical in the West End”.

“What Cameron was meaning to say is, we have closed down the production entity that has been that [production of] The Phantom of the Opera for 34 years, and closed down the physical production. Even before the pandemic hit, we were already in a process of going carefully through the physical production, some parts of it already having been decommissioned,” she said, adding: “There are systems in that set you could not get the replacement parts for me any more – they just aren’t made after 34 years.”



From this article of The Stage
"

 

Hmmm, I don't think this changes anything - it's just trying to quash the social media frenzy. They called the UK tour this year the original version, even though it wasn't, so if they can do that then, what's to stop them doing that this time round?

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Posted: 7/30/20 at 12:11pm

The Scorpion said: "joevitus said:

What exactly is their problem with it(the powers that be, that is, not the Phantoms)?"

I'm not really sure beyond economics. I think it takes a fair amount of work to maintain. Before the London production played its final performance before lockdown, its own Angel was out of action for quite a while. I've heard that the set as well was deliberately left to degrade for the last couple of years (no cleaning etc) because these plans have been bubbling for quite some time. I assume Cameron Mackintosh planned this at the same time he planned to scrap the original Les Mis, and by all accounts that was being planned as early as 2016.

The 2020 tour of Phantom did not include the Angel, but I can understand that if they feel it's no longer viable for touring productions. But the London production is a sit-down production, so IMHO there's no excuse not to have it.
"

Wow. Unsettling they'd let a moving set piece degrade to the point it couldn't be used (that makes it a danger zone the actors are working in), but thanks for explaining. 

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Posted: 7/30/20 at 12:16pm

KingOfTheMine said: "I don't think this most recent press release really changes anything. It just sounds like ALW is trying to word the announcement so they can hold onto the title of longest running musical in the West End. I'm sorry, but they're making changes to the physical production and shutting down the legal entity that has been running the show for decades. Regardless of how similar ALW insists the show will be to the original, it will be hard to call this the brilliant original."

This is interesting. I trust your take because I think you understand the participants much better than I do. I read it as a tug-of-war between Lloyd Webber wanting the original production to remain intact other than modernizing the operation in light of new technology that makes things easier, while CM is just for tossing out stuff to lower running costs and gain more profit. But, as I said, I'm a real outsider in terms of evaluating these men. I trust the interpretation of Phantom fans very familiar with this creative team more than my own.

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Posted: 7/30/20 at 12:36pm
Thanks joevitus. I can definitely see that interpretation as well. I think we're all just trying to read into the little information we actually have from CM and ALW. Ultimately, we'll get the answers to our questions once we see what the production looks like once it reopens.
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Posted: 7/30/20 at 1:38pm

The Scorpion said: "She said the musical would return unchanged, using the work of the original creative team, including director Hal Prince and designer Maria Björnson, and added that when the show returns it will “indisputably be the longest-running musical in the West End."

So Andrew Lloyd Webber and RUG are going to insist The Phantom of the Opera will now become the longest running musical in the West End despite Cameron Mackintosh still adverting Les Miserables as the longest running even though he very obviously shut down the original production and opened a revival?

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Lot666
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Posted: 7/30/20 at 1:51pm

Phantom4ever said: "To me and other devoted phans, he is taking away a piece of art that functions as an essential part of my psyche and soul. I know that sounds a bit strong but it's true. I can handle all the judgment and snark this board can muster about that so have at it."

I feel exactly the same way about this show, although I don't refer to myself as a "phan" because the people who use that expression tend to be the ones who dress as the characters for their weddings and have images from the show tattooed on themselves.

Phantom4ever said: "The only question left: What is happening to Broadway's Phantom? Has anyone seen load out trucks at the Majestic? The sets are about a year younger (loaded in in late 1987 vs mid 1986) so they should be ready to fall apart any minute as well. Does anyone legit think there's a chance that the London Phantom gets an update while the Broadway Phantom stays original?"

The only thing I know about the Broadway production is that, unlike London, the cast is still officially under contract at this time. If there's any aspect of the the NY production that might possibly save it, it's the fact that it is still officially "the longest running musical in Broadway history", an accolade that has been routinely touted in its advertising for many years now.

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Posted: 7/30/20 at 1:54pm

imeldasturn said: "She said the musical would return unchanged, using the work of the original creative team, including director Hal Prince and designer Maria Björnson, and added that when the show returns it will 'indisputably be the longest-running musical in the West End'.

“What Cameron was meaning to say is...
"

What I don't understand about this refutation of the Mackinstosh interview is there wasn't anything ambiguous about his statements. The RUG spokesperson is presenting this as if he was misunderstood, but I don't see how it would be possible to misunderstand what he said.

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sparksatmidnight
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Posted: 7/30/20 at 2:25pm

New sets, same designs, same theatre (for at least the next 50 years), just as I have been saying from the start:

https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/A-Brand-New-Physical-Production-of-PHANTOM-OF-THE-OPERA-Will-Run-in-the-West-End-When-Theatres-Are-Able-to-Reopen-20200730

It will be basically the same thing as a transfer or a replica production. I assume most of you never watched a replica production, but it can be just as good (if better) than the original while maintaining the same design and direction (the production of Phantom that was in Brazil last year, for example, had a much faster chandelier, more and safer pyro, whatnot, while being pretty much Hal Prince's The Phantom of the Opera).

I don't think it will be necessarily the tour's sets that are going to be used for the new physical production, but it's safe to assume that at least parts of it will.

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Posted: 7/30/20 at 2:27pm

Lot666 said: "imeldasturn said: "She said the musical would return unchanged, using the work of the original creative team, including director Hal Prince and designer Maria Björnson, and added that when the show returns it will 'indisputably be the longest-running musical in the West End'.

“What Cameron was meaning to say is...
"

What I don't understand about this refutation of the Mackinstosh interview is there wasn't anything ambiguous about his statements. The RUG spokesperson is presenting this as if he was misunderstood, but I don't see how it would be possible to misunderstand what he said.
"

It’s because he does things without consulting anybody. This is no different. Then when there is uproar the team scramble about doing damage control. If you had been privy to the way those men treated Gillian Lynne during the Cats revival on Broadway, or the utter debacle that Cameron made of Betty Blue Eyes, or the man’s toddler like temper tantrums during Barnum or, or, and, and...

The one thing I will say for him is that he invests a lot of money back into his theatres, a lot. They are very, very well taken care of. 
 

And...although media has made a big to-do about rich business owners using the furlough system in Britain and the enormous amount of backlash he got when it was reported that he was furloughing the various casts, instead of paying from company money, what people don’t know is that he did pay a one off amount to cast members out of his own pocket - that isn’t something anyone is talking about. So although the man is pretty vile, he isn’t totally irredeemable.

 

 

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Elfuhbuh
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Posted: 7/30/20 at 3:10pm
I mean, even in the original “permanent closure” statement, Mackintosh said they had plans to bring the show back. The restaged UK tour didn’t catch on the way the Les Mis restaging did, so it makes sense from a business perspective for him to just keep the original staging more or less intact. Mackintosh may be cheap, but he probably realizes that the restaged Phantom would close quickly in the West End, so it’s probably more worth it in the long run to continue paying royalties to the original creatives’ estates.
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Posted: 7/30/20 at 3:24pm

Loopin’theloop said: "It’s because he does things without consulting anybody. This is no different. Then when there is uproar the team scramble about doing damage control. If you had been privy to the way those men treated Gillian Lynne during the Cats revival on Broadway, or the utter debacle that Cameron made of Betty Blue Eyes, or the man’s toddler like temper tantrums during Barnum or, or, and, and..."

For a minute there I forgot that we were discussing CM and thought you were talking about Donald Trump.

 

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Posted: 7/30/20 at 5:05pm

Loopin’theloop said: "
It’s because he does things without consulting anybody. This is no different. Then when there is uproar the team scramble about doing damage control. If you had been privy to the way those men treated Gillian Lynne during the Cats revival on Broadway, or the utter debacle that Cameron made of Betty Blue Eyes, or the man’s toddler like temper tantrums during Barnum or, or, and, and...

The one thing I will say for him is that he invests a lot of money back into his theatres, a lot. They are very, very well taken care of."


Yeah, his theatres are those in the best condition in London. Can't fault him there.

I heard about the temper tantrums on Barnum and the s*** they did to Gillian Lynne re the Cats revival, but what happened on Betty Blue Eyes? (I saw the show; it was OK but it was never going to be that successful and I felt it was rushed into the West End).

How did he become so successful if he's like that?

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Posted: 7/31/20 at 2:48am

You know, I've been pretty dismissive from the start (as one should when reading online sourceless rumours - this is how we ended up with antivaxx people), which includes "insiders" in this very thread (to be fair, this always sounded more like a Lion King reopen situation than a Les Mis) BUT there is something I actually worry about (and you should too): the orchestra. I think the stage is pretty much set (ha!) for reducing the original orchestrations with the sized down versions when the show reopens as beautifully as it it did in the 80s.

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Posted: 7/31/20 at 11:53am
Did anyone else notice that the @phantombway instagram page is no longer active?
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Posted: 7/31/20 at 4:08pm
Check out this video of the recent UK tour in rehearsals. You can tell everybody in the video has already been told to play down the differences and play up the similarities to the original. CM and even ALW throw around words like brilliant original, original designs, replica, exact replica when it will be in fact quite updated. This is most likely what Phantom will look like after the pandemic:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QCMcZ92cZqU

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Posted: 7/31/20 at 4:14pm

That video is full of infuriatingly meaningless PR guff. What exactly do they mean about "bringing the original production into today"? It's a period piece set in the 19th century, not Marianne Elliott's revival of Company. And then Cameron stands there saying it is "even better" than it was in 1986, when the set model makes clear that is not the case (cheap-looking flat instead of the red drapes that close Act 1, no chandelier rise or fall, no Angel, no statues on the proscenium...).

I notice on social media lots are celebrating RUG's statement, but it's not one that can be taken at face value if they called what's in that video the "brilliant original".

Updated On: 7/31/20 at 04:14 PM
Loopin’theloop
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Posted: 8/1/20 at 3:28pm

The Scorpion said: "Loopin’theloop said: "
It’s because he does things without consulting anybody. This is no different. Then when there is uproar the team scramble about doing damage control. If you had been privy to the way those men treated Gillian Lynne during the Cats revival on Broadway, or the utter debacle that Cameron made of Betty Blue Eyes, or the man’s toddler like temper tantrums during Barnum or, or, and, and...

The one thing I will say for him is that he invests a lot of money back into his theatres, a lot. They are very, very well taken care of."


Yeah, his theatres are those in the best condition in London. Can't fault him there.

I heard about the temper tantrums onBarnumand the s*** they did to Gillian Lynne re theCatsrevival, but what happened onBetty Blue Eyes? (I saw the show; it was OK but it was never going to be that successful and I felt it was rushed into the West End).

How did he become so successful if he's like that?
"

Betty Blue Eyes was stunning in the workshop. Cameron just couldn’t stop interfering. 
 

Plenty of people are successful and difficult. He had produced some brilliant, brilliant musicals. There is no doubt that the man has had moments of genius but these days his main concerns is ‘legacy’ his legacy (his words not mine) He’s suddenly become interested in having his name listed as a writer or in reducing costs in shows so that they can run long after he dies, he’s become obsessed with him

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Posted: 8/1/20 at 8:54pm

>the s*** they did to Gillian Lynne re the Cats revival

The disrespect shown to that woman is unbelievable. How they trotted her out for their pageantry of renaming the New London after her only weeks before she died essentially as an apology for how they treated her was just disgusting.I'm just glad she wasn't here to see what they did to the scraps of her choreography they left in the movie. Insulting.

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Posted: 8/2/20 at 1:28am

What am I missing in the story? Don't know that replacing her choreography was a smart move, but it's a revival. Often revivals get new choreography. I know that they had used her work for the London revival, but don't get how replacing her in New York was insulting. None of the Broadway revivals of Company or Follies have used the choreography of Michael Bennett. 

Updated On: 8/2/20 at 01:28 AM
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Posted: 8/2/20 at 2:07am

Company and Follies didn’t rely as heavily on choreography to tell the story as much as Cats does. Gillian Lynne’s work was an integral component to the success of the show. A more appropriate comparison might be A Chorus Line which did use Michael Bennett‘s original choreography for the revival.

I should also add that they actually didn’t replace her choreography entirely. It was probably 80% Gillian Lynne and 20% Andy Blankenbuehler throwing in random changes just for the hell of it. A casual observer likely wouldn’t have noticed the difference but those of us more familiar with the original choreography were left scratching our heads. The average person wouldn’t notice and the fans were pissed off. Who was supposed to benefit?

Updated On: 8/2/20 at 02:07 AM
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Posted: 8/2/20 at 2:59am

Fair points, but in fact is is often opined that if ACL does get another revival, it should employ entirely new choreography. Obviously, there's plenty of room for debate on this. But what I'm still not getting is how new choreography, in whole or in part is "insulting," which is the word I'm seeing used repeatedly. Bad choice aesthetically? Yeah, I get that argument. But I don't see how it's insulting.

To use a different Sondheim collaborator to illustrate the point, Hal Prince's concepts and stagings were essential to all their shows together (generally dictating what kinds of songs would be written, and even determining the structure of the book), but again, no one says Prince is being insulted if any of these shows are revived with entirely new stagings, and these shows always do get entirely new stagings.

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Posted: 8/2/20 at 9:04am

joevitus said: "Fair points, but in fact is is often opined that if ACL does get another revival, it should employ entirelynew choreography. Obviously, there's plenty of room for debate on this. But what I'm still not getting is how new choreography, in whole or in part is "insulting," which is the word I'm seeing used repeatedly. Bad choice aesthetically? Yeah, I get that argument. But I don't see how it's insulting.



To use a different Sondheim collaborator to illustrate the point,Hal Prince's concepts and stagingswere essential to all their shows together (generally dictating what kinds of songs would be written,and even determining the structureof thebook), but again, no one says Prince is being insulted if any of these shows are revived with entirely new stagings, and these shows always do get entirely new stagings."

 

The Cats situation was very different. 
 

The theatre owners had no desire to see a revival of the show, without some kind of significant change arguing that even West Side Story had been reimagined with the Spanglish and the changes to the choreography. ALW wasn’t about to mess around with the music, the set and costumes from London were all ready to be shipped so the obvious choice was choreography (which is the obvious choice anyway if you want to reinvent a dance show) so they quickly approached Andy Blankenbuehler. ALW never thinks through any of his decisions beyond ‘who is the flavour of the month who might make me relevant?’ his entire reason for wanting to revive the show was to see several of his shows on Broadway, at the same time once again.

Andy Blankenbuehler is hired. Andy Blankenbuehler then states that he categorically cannot stage Cats from scratch, as it’s not his skill set. Well, then they had a problem.

They had to approach Gillian Lynne, whom they hadn’t given even a courtesy phone call to so that she knew that the show was no longer transferring from the Palladium to New York but was being revamped and she would not be needed. Of course now she was needed. 

Unfortunately for ALW and Cam Mac, they no longer had the rights to the original choreography - an oversight had meant they hadn’t been re optioned. So they had to renegotiate terms with Gillian Lynne. However, they didn’t want to do that. They wanted to buy the choreography and have freedom to do whatever they wanted with it. Like any self respecting creative she wanted to discuss how the existing choreography might work alongside the new work and negotiate which sections she felt she would be unwilling to lose (the same way the Jerome Robbins estate works, the same as the Gershwin’s, the same as Cole Porters and so on and so on) 

Her British male comrades did not want this. They wanted the choreography and no discussion. They didn’t want to have a phone call. They didn’t want to write a letter. They certainly didn’t want to have a production meeting. And they didn’t. They gave the woman who created that show for them nothing but the option of handing over her work for it to be changed in any way they chose. 

They then begged her to come to the first day of rehearsals so that she could be photographed because she was ‘so important’ to publicity...

 


 

 

 

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Posted: 8/2/20 at 11:45am
>>But what I'm still not getting is how new choreography, in whole or in part is "insulting," which is the word I'm seeing used repeatedly. Bad choice aesthetically? Yeah, I get that argument. But I don't see how it's insulting.

Because on top of what Loopin said, Cats' choreography is just as (if not more than) important than the score, the set, the costumes which they were content to not change. Pieces were moved around, but nothing was really changed. If you want to do a new production of Cats that changes the choreography then you should be obligated to change everything about the physical production not try to push out the woman who made this show what it was.

And as we all saw with Andy Blankenbuehler in the movie, he was right that can't choreograph Cats from scratch with that utter trash he attempted.
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Posted: 8/2/20 at 1:19pm

If she was so insulted, then why did she agree to let her choreo be used at all in the 2016 revival?