Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess in PHANTOM tonight!

Phillytheatreguy10 Profile PhotoPhillytheatreguy10 Profile Photo
Phillytheatreguy10
Broadway Star
joined:7/22/12
Broadway Star
joined:
7/22/12
Wow that stage door pic is nuts! Where is the stage door for this?
LizzieCurry Profile PhotoLizzieCurry Profile Photo
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/7/05
They share a stage door tunnel with Once. So it's on 45th st.
"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
broadwayguy2
Broadway Legend
joined:5/18/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/18/03
Norm Lewis is simple incredible. The passion, the richness of his voice, the power, the pain... Really and truly a grat Phantom. One to be seen. I can'tt say enough, but ai don't yet know what to say other than WOW. He is perfectly paired with Sierra who is my personal favorite Christine, of a long list of Christines that I adore. She is in first-rate form again. Don't miss them together.
Ellen Harvey really is a savior in this show. She wrings EVERY moment out of Madame Giry without going over the top. SHE does not miss a thing. Far and away my favorite in that role.

Norm had a section of Phans in the house. Cheers when he first appears.
The audience was pretty well full and trashy as always.. Flash photography THREE LINES INTO THE SHOW. the gentleman behind us was snoring through part of act two. The tourists next to us were 10 mins late for each a t and returned for act two with bags of candy. Talkers galore. A phone behind me beeped every time a text came through, txting from the tardy tourits and the people in front. The woman next to us had a phone with a fog horn alert tone that went off shortly into act two and she was mone too bothered.
Half a row in front of us vacated as the lights came up to start curtain call.

Nevertheless, when Norm would sing, you could hear a pin drop.. Especially late in act two.

The final chair disappearance malfunctioned. Oddly enough, as Meg entered, I thought I"'ve never seen the chair malfunction"...
Meg placed a hand on the cloak, paused a bit too long, lifted the corner at the top of the chair, reached a hand under and pulled out the mask.
So.. New for me!
DottieD'Luscia Profile PhotoDottieD'Luscia Profile Photo
DottieD'Luscia
Broadway Legend
joined:7/23/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/23/03
Yikes, your report about the audience is a bit disheartening. I want to see this with Norm and Sierra, but not sure if I could tolerate such nonsense.
Hey Dottie! Did your colleagues enjoy the cake even though your cat decided to sit on it? ~GuyfromGermany
broadwayguy2
Broadway Legend
joined:5/18/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/18/03
To be fair, we were sitting in the rear mezzanine. At Phantom. Ona Friday. I don't think one could expect any different. Bit well worth it to see Lewis, Boggess and Harvey.
Rainbowhigh23
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/29/12
^ I saw last night's performance from rear mezz too and fortunately the crowd wasn't as bad as you're section! Lots of latecomers which was annoying but overall ok.

Norm was phenomenal! His Phantom was exciting and heartbreaking at the same time. Him and Sierra were perfect together. I was too far to notice a malfunction with the final chair- what happened?
broadwayguy2
Broadway Legend
joined:5/18/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/18/03
We were mid rear mezz, house right. The major camera flash at the very start of the show was just over pur shoulders.

Normally, Meg enters, approaches the throne, rips away the cloak and the mask is sitting on the empty seat, lit by a spotlight. She picks it up and the spotlight hits the mask as the lights fade.
The disappearance mechanism didnt trigger and so Norm was still in the seat. You will remember Meg peeking under the corner of the cloak and pulling oit the mask from head height... Norm was still under the cloak.
Rainbowhigh23
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/29/12
^ Oh right! I do remember her reaching under the cloak for the mask; the scene did seem a little slow. Thanks for the explanation.



Updated On: 5/17/14 at 02:57 PM
Phantom4ever
Broadway Star
joined:9/17/07
Broadway Star
joined:
9/17/07
I would love to see the chair malfunction. Every time I see PHANTOM I always hold my breath til Meg pulls the cover away and the mask is always perfectly in it spot.

The rear mezz at Phantom has been a rough place for me as well. The last time I sat up there, there was a group of middle school kids who talked through the first act. At intermission I turned around and lectured them and their chaperones and I had an usher move me to front mezz.

The ushers at Phantom on the orchestra level are much better about not tolerating phones and texting.
zepka102 Profile Photozepka102 Profile Photo
zepka102
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/26/04
Perfection. That's what Norm and Sierra are. BG2 and I were there together, so we had a lot of conversations that he pretty much summed up here.

Simply chill-inducing. Norm's voice is perfect for the role. It almost felt like we were hearing "MotN" for the first time.

Ellen Harvey is the best Giry I have seen. The way she delivers her lines, she put so much thought into. Her intonation, how she moved her body... Smart. She took a throwaway character and made her interesting and a standout.
::bust a move::
broadwayguy2
Broadway Legend
joined:5/18/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/18/03
Ellen Harvey is life. I have maintained for YEARS that she is a shockingly underrated and underused actress.

Music of the Night was SO fresh.. and the passion and the sexual tension.... My gawds.
T.C.
Swing
joined:5/27/14
Swing
joined:
5/27/14

I saw the Phantom with Norm Lewis in New York on May 24th and must say that I left somewhat disappointed with recent revisions to the staging, as well as with Norm Lewis in this role. I should say I am “in the business” and have seen this show 13 times, so perhaps my take on things is a little different from a typical theatergoer. There was little chemistry within the cast, as Lewis’ age creates more of a weird Freudian relationship with the young Sierra Boggess, rather than a romantic tension that is naturally present with younger [looking] Phantoms. Lewis’ rendition of the Music of the Night was forced and lacked sweet, mysterious and dangerously seductive power so well projected by others – from Crawford to Panaro to Karimloo. He also cut the last note – the magical D-flat – incredibly short, rushing through the last ritardando chords of the song and frankly showing an inability to sustain the last note for a full effect. It seems Andrew Lloyd Webber also re-worked some of the orchestrations, adding the unfortunate 1980s-style electric guitar riffs to the Overture and other parts of the score. The overall rhythm of the show felt rushed versus earlier productions, with the music, dramatic pauses and segues forcibly cut short. Some of the updated sets, however, made for a nice change. It is worth noting that Jeremy Hays absolutely carries the production as Raoul – a first I’ve seen given that Raoul’s character is very one-dimensional. He and Sierra Boggess have a great chemistry that mitigates the strange ‘sugar daddy’ age-difference undertones of Christine’s relationship with Lewis’ older Phantom. I would almost prefer seeing Jeremy as Phantom to be honest.

Firmin and Andre also don't have the same chemistry as some of their predecessors possessed. Specifically, I am reaching several several years back and remembering David Cryer as Firmin and George Lee Andrews as Andre - their chemistry and ability to play off each other was simply remarkable, possibly due to the experience. It is worth noting that in this production Tim Jerome as Firmin is also quite impressive, creating a very engaging character.

Some shows go through revisions and come out of them as something fresh, magical and moving. Case in point – the new, shorter, reworked production of Les Mis. The previous revision of Les Mis around 2006-2007 when Lea Salonga played Fantine was also superb. The changes to the Phantom – including the casting of Lewis – to me suggest that the show is past its maturity and is now a pure entertainment vehicle with slightly more relaxed performance standards. Having seen Lewis in Les Mis and Porgy & Bess, where he was incredible both times, I can’t say the same about him as the Phantom. 3 out of 5 stars.










Updated On: 5/27/14 at 10:43 PM
Phantom4ever
Broadway Star
joined:9/17/07
Broadway Star
joined:
9/17/07
T.C. I'm curious what you are referring to when you say "updated sets"?
T.C.
Swing
joined:5/27/14
Swing
joined:
5/27/14
By "Updated Sets" I am referring to some new curtains and more colourful backdrops that have been added. Also, the cross on top of the mausoleum has been updated to have the Phantom emerge from within it, rather than from the side/behind it which now makes it look like he's exiting from a camouflaged cover - something that drew a few giggles at the show that I saw.

Updated On: 5/27/14 at 10:59 PM
broadwayguy2
Broadway Legend
joined:5/18/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/18/03
As many times as I have seen the Broadway production, i have always remembered the Phantom emerging from within the cross.
I don't recall any new more colorful backdrops. Anywhere. They are the same they have always been, though perhaps cleaned.
The only real change to the design of the show has been fabrics on costumes as they have found more cost and cleaning effective materials for certain things and the spund and light rigs, where wre each completely updated in the last several years.

As far as Norm's age, he is fine as far as I am concerned. She buys him as a father figure that she is strangly drawn toward AND attracted to, which fits 100% inside the context of the show. Its fine to not prefer that, but to a t as though it is against the authors' intent would be foolish.
DottieD'Luscia Profile PhotoDottieD'Luscia Profile Photo
DottieD'Luscia
Broadway Legend
joined:7/23/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/23/03
Not sure how the age of Norm Lewis can be taken into question considering Howard McGillen was about the same age when he played the role. Hugh Panaro is about the same age as Norm as well.
Hey Dottie! Did your colleagues enjoy the cake even though your cat decided to sit on it? ~GuyfromGermany
T.C.
Swing
joined:5/27/14
Swing
joined:
5/27/14
When I referenced Norm Lewis' age I specifically said that he lacks the same romantic intensity and chemistry with Christine as did other younger LOOKING Phantoms, some of whom were around 50 - Norm's age. He's convincing, but not seductive and that's the key to the role and the character as he transforms from a father figure to a potential suitor. The sexual, for a lack of a better word, energy and the tension that exists between Christine and the Phantom in other pairings is notably missing between Sierra and Norm, as is the intense romantic rivalry between Phantom and Raoul. It's just not as powerful of an ensemble as it was with others cast in the role of the Phantom. It's passable but not superb, though one can hope it will get better with time.

Singing-wise Norm Lewis is what is known as a 'heldentenor' - a voice that is suited for bombastic heroic parts (Javert is a great example), though I always thought of him as being primarily a baritone who can also hit a few high notes. The Phantom part, however, is more suitable for what is known as "dramatic tenor".

One more thing that peeved me that I did not notice before - there is a light in the orchestra pit that is positioned in such a way that the conductor's shadow is projected onto the entire right side of the theater and when she conducts the moving shadow of her arms is a huge visual distraction. It literally is projected onto all upper balconies. Again - perhaps this was only visible from the orchestra section.





Updated On: 5/28/14 at 08:54 AM
amoni2 Profile Photoamoni2 Profile Photo
amoni2
Featured Actor
joined:3/4/06
Featured Actor
joined:
3/4/06
When the Hell are The Shubert's going to do the right thing and rename The Majestic, The Andrew Lloyd Webber Andrew? It's ridiculous by now, but maybe they are waiting to name it after someone in the mail room or accounts receivable.
ukpuppetboy Profile Photoukpuppetboy Profile Photo
ukpuppetboy
Leading Actor
joined:2/12/13
Leading Actor
joined:
2/12/13
Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess in PHANTOM tonight!

The mausoleum set WAS ORIGINALLY a cross which the Phantom emerged from behind, in London at least - with a pyramid of skulls and without opening gates or the pronounced Daae grave as featured in the current design but those elements (along with the significant amount of trailing ivy) were updated early on at Her Majesty's. Certainly within the first few years of opening. I would imagine the New York production would have reflected these changes in around the same time frame (if it didn't actually originate them in the first place). A few other updated design features were introduced to the New York show and then found their way back to London. Christine's Masquerade dress for example.



Updated On: 5/28/14 at 02:25 PM
Quasi
Stand-by
joined:11/11/04
Stand-by
joined:
11/11/04
I saw the show on March 22nd. Well I think Phantom of the Opera is quite a boring show (at least for me) but my boyfriend hadn't seen it before and I was interested in the cast. Sierra was outstanding but I was really disappointed by Norm Lewis. Sometimes I thought his voice doesn't fit the score and in The Music of the Night he nearly cracked one tone but saved it finally with his technique. All in all it wasn't a great experience for me and the chair at the end didn't work either. Greetings from Germany. Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess in PHANTOM tonight!
GreatWhiteGay Profile PhotoGreatWhiteGay Profile Photo
GreatWhiteGay
Chorus Member
joined:4/29/14
Chorus Member
joined:
4/29/14
I agree with the sentiment that Norm played the Phantom, whether intentionally or unintentionally, a little older. It may have to do with his voice type, as T.C. mentioned. Jeremy Hays had a much more palpable chemistry with Sierra, which I thought actually enhanced the final scene.
broadwayguy2
Broadway Legend
joined:5/18/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/18/03
Yes, uk.. i actually prefer that design for the cross, but here in nyc / tour, i am pretty certain that he has always emerged from within the cross.. Mm.
Justin D Profile PhotoJustin D Profile Photo
Justin D
Broadway Legend
joined:4/11/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/11/05
in Ny the hollowed cross has always been used, on tour sometimes the cross was a bit smaler so he comes out from behind it rather than through it.

recently though in NYC they seem to have added more ivy, before the cross itself only had a few strands and you could see the 'black hole' in the middle, now it is covered in very green ivy (In london the ivy is toned down alot with a smattering of black paint) and recently seeing Hugh in the role in NYC he sort of stood up and started the Wandering Child bit sort of half in half out of the ivy, personally I thought it looked quite lovely.

Every so often they might change out a few of the drops when they get old and tattered, again in NYC the drapes particularly in the auction are very bright, I am not sure if they were replaced or what, in London back in the day when I went backstage, the front most drape was also covered with a smattering of gray/black paint to tone down the colours on the top piece that is seen in the auction.

the only other minor thing in NYC that personally I love is that the candelabras are lit individually with an eerie blueish/green light which makes them stand out beautifully in the lair scenes
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27199361@N08/ Phantom at the Royal Empire Theatre
thedrybandit
Featured Actor
joined:12/10/18
Featured Actor
joined:
12/10/18
I don't think I've seen this mentioned on this thread yet, but another (amazing) change to the production is that they are now using the updated orchestrations that started with the Las Vegas production. It sounds much fuller and darker. It's worth going just to hear them.
T.C.
Swing
joined:5/27/14
Swing
joined:
5/27/14
Another thing to consider about Norm Lewis being cast as the Phantom, regardless of his vocal ability, - and even in the context of growing (thank god) diversity in casting decisions overall - is whether the color of a performers skin should be ignored completely or actually celebrated and incorporated into the directorial aspect of the role. Further, how does this increasing diversity affect the notion of suspending the disbelief? A case in point - when I saw Norm as Javert I had absolutely no issues believing that this is what Javert could look like. There need not be made any directorial or staging changes to Javert's part whether the actor is white, black, asian, etc...

With POTO it's different because direction and certain details need to change in order to avoid obvious errors or continuity issues. More specifically in "Past the Point of No Return". In that scene Christine realizes that she is performing with the Phantom and not with Piangi when, towards the end of the song, she puts her hands around Don Juan's face and feels the mask under the cape. Up until now the Phantom part was sung by white actors, Piangi's part was sung by white actors, so no issues. When I was watching Norm and Sierra in the same scene I couldn't stop thinking - "This makes no sense, because Christine would know right away that it's the Phantom, not Piangi, because the color of the hands is different [black]. Piangi is a chubby white Italian dude."

So the question is, should a performer - when his background/ethnicity is new to a production - simply be put into a cookie-cutter role created for others before him; or should directors, producers and audiences truly accept diversity, embrace it and evolve our shows/productions to account for the richness of backgrounds in a show when doing so makes sense?

To me - this little continuity issue with revealing the Phantom behind Don Juan was one of many peeves that made the Norm Lewis-Sierra Boggess production that much less enjoyable.
Updated On: 5/29/14 at 12:57 PM

3
Page: 3