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

MannPhan24601
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It keeps popping up on one of the fb groups I'm on that employees of Her Majesty were told the production is revamping to the "restaged" production. I know the recent  ill fated UK tour had aspects of both the original and the restaged productions. Back in April, I had a q&a event with a bunch of former US restaged tour cast members(one of the reasons why I basically got into broadway) and they were saying rumors were going around that the broadway production would get the updates the UK tour had. A good chunk of the former cast on there had also done Broadway, London, the Music Box tour, and one of them even did the RAH concert. It was interesting hearing them talk about learning both productions. (Here's the link to the recording if anybody is interested https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtuR-7N9toc&t=2528s)

 

i've never seen the brilliant original(besides the RAH recording and bootlegs)  as I was hoping to this summer before corona happened. Somebody said on fb that the reason they are doing this is to not pay the Bjornson, Prince, and Lynne estates. I remember the whole uproar on Les Mis (which I've only seen the restaged production on broadway and on tour) last year and Trevor Nunn and John Carid are still alive . I honestly think as a history major that things should just be preserved with slight tech/safety updates.

EDIT: Forgot to add that Scott Ambler the choreographer and  Paul Brown the set designer  of the restaged tour are also deceased.

Updated On: 6/20/20 at 09:51 AM
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TheGingerBreadMan
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I hope not, but I wouldn't be surprised if they're wanting to cut costs post-COVID. The original staging is a masterpiece all on its own and to lose it would be extremely saddening. Having seen both, the "updated" version is serviceable to a Phantom newbie, but cannot hold a candle to Prince's work. I'd be disappointed but if it ends up happening, I won't be shocked. 

Phantom4ever
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I have been dreading something like this for a long time. If this happens, I won’t be returning to the Majestic for my 75th viewing of Phantom on Broadway. I know the average tourist won’t care and that’s what Cameron is banking on. Hopefully someone can talk him out of it but it sounds like the deal is done.
Phantom4ever
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Do you think they would make an official announcement about it or just kind of let it happen?
MannPhan24601
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Phantom4ever said: "Do you think they would make an official announcement about it or just kind of let it happen?"

Somebody  said to expect announcement "soon"

Phantom4ever
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So this would involve removing the angel from the false proscenium and having the chandelier on a huge track, correct? This would basically involve a full load out of the entire 1988 set, right? All the curtains, the elephant, the dressing room, the trap doors etc? All that would be removed?
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bwayphreak234
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God I hope not. Cameron Mackintosh's "spectacular new production" was a hot mess. The whole design looked terrible and cheap, and Laurence Connor's direction was terrible (as it almost always is). I saw the tour and found it to be ghastly.

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MannPhan24601
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Phantom4ever said: "So this would involve removing the angel from the false proscenium and having the chandelier on a huge track, correct? This would basically involve a full load out of the entire 1988 set, right? All the curtains, the elephant, the dressing room, the trap doors etc? All that would be removed?"

Restaged production had elephant ,dressing room , and curtains. The chandiler was a little more modern but not on a track. No trap doors I beleive

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CATSNYrevival
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jimmycurry01
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I would not go back. Once was enough for the restaged production.
Phantom4ever
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Cameron did it for Les Miz and did not care at all if it upset fans. 

Here is the rumor posted on a theater fan site in the UK:

http://theatrefan.co.uk/rumour-the-phantom-of-the-opera-original-production-to-be-replaced/?fbclid=IwAR3SP63ghgPH-OthQLE69Jn7gYUlA2E2K4MNWlC4Q7pXiO8ji76mbayBPxk

This is about the West End production specifically. 

There's obviously nothing that can be done now. I hope everyone who posts about how Phantom needs to be updated is happy now. You're getting your update. 

JennH
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Oh man, I hope not...lest I regret not returning before this nonsense comes to fruition. There's a reason why this show has lasted as long as it has, and much of that was Prince's brilliance. I just don't understand fixing something that ain't broke. If this does happen to the NY production, I can only hope it will not happen immediately because I will totally pull from my savings to see it before it does.

Phantom4ever
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Jenn........girl.........if it doesn't happen immediately but does still happen, I would probably do a Thursday to Saturday trip and see the original show 5 times over 3 days and then never step foot in the Majestic again. Until the new show that starts once the Cheap Phantom closes. 

Fosse76
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I doubt this is true. It would involve loading out the entire set and replacing it. That would take weeks, and a significant amount of money. Since Phantom's audience is made up of mostly tourists, it would financially irresponsible to make such a large investment for a show that might not survive.
Jarethan
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I have seen both productions, the original 7 - 8 times, the restaged version twice.  As is often the case with a re-thinking, i thought there were a couple of things the revival improved upon the original.  The visual image of the chandelier as you leave the theater (I thought it was so mesmerizing that I took a picture to remember it) is one of them; another is a staging of the number where the 5-6 lead characters sing about the series of letters.  I just felt it was a better number.  I also thought that -- had I not seen the original -- I would have thought even more of the title number, which in its own right was done excellently; however, when it is compared to the original goose-bump inducing staging when the candles come out of the water (preposterous, but resulting in some of the most beautiful stage images I have ever seen), it pales in comparison, leading one to think 'why did they do that.'  I also recall that Masquerade was staged differently, but I can't remember whether i though it was bad, good or great.  I do know that the original number was also visually stunning, even though it took about 3 seconds to realize that there were a lot of mannequins on stage.

I am all for re-stagings -- the recent staging of Oklahoma turned for me a previously annoying and almost unwatchable show with great music into one of the best nights in the theatre in decades.  I have seen three other versions of the Les Mis staging, and thought all versions were outstanding.  I have to wonder, however, why one would feel a need to re-stage one of the most iconic moments in the longest running show in London (musical only) or Broadway history.  I would prefer that they take an objective look at moments that they believe truly excel the original production, and interpolate those into the current Broadway and London versions.  That will freshen it a bit, without removing altering / the moments that make Phantom Phantom.

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everythingtaboo
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The original Phantom has been playing in the West end for close to 35 years. I think they'll probably use the "we have to update the theatre" line they used for Les Mis as an excuse to put in the new show.

In fact, I wonder if it''s already played its last performance. With Cameron Mackintosh putting his shows on hold until 2021, he could easily say they'll be opening Her Majesty's in March with the refurbished theatre and new production.



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sparksatmidnight
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Phantom to change to #17
Posted: 6/20/20 at 3:23pm

I think this whole thing was blown out of proportion. If Cameron Mackintosh was set on not paying royalties or something of the kind he wouldn't have sent a brand new production of "the brilliant original" on the road not even 6 months ago.

 

Also, I doubt they would just let the show go without any fanfarre at all. ALW, most of all, must have at least a certain amount of power over the London production.

Updated On: 6/20/20 at 03:23 PM
Phantom4ever
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Everybody keeps saying oh hey what’s so bad about a few updates. Well this is exactly why Cameron won’t care when people lament the loss of this classic staging. Maybe y’all are right. Maybe the show does need to close or get updated. Personally I would rather see it close before the touch any of it
Phantom4ever
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Sparks, that was a revised production too. It wasn’t the brilliant original.
SouthernCakes
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What I love about a Broadway production is when a set/design feels built for that specific space. With trap doors and whatnot and I think Phantom does that so well. I’d hate to see just a tour production design used instead. Like with Les Miz it just didn’t feel special.
sparksatmidnight
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Phantom4ever said: "Sparks, that was a revised production too. It wasn’t the brilliant original."

It was basically the original with a few revisions to make it easy for touring (like the chandelier), wasn't it? I must admit I never got to actually see it. However, it still used the original set and costume design, choreography (and I must assume) direction. Even if they modified it, royalties are still due, which would make the argument of "re-staging" it to avoid paying royalties kinda empty, wouldn't it?

 

Phantom4ever
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Phantom to change to #22
Posted: 6/20/20 at 3:48pm

Sparks yeah it would but, I'm just guessing here, that the original contracts that Lynne, Bjornson and especially Prince had would have to be renegotiated since it is technically a different show. And then Cameron is a in a power position to tell them oh yeah you don't like getting .005% of the weekly profits?  How about you get none then and we go with the brand new tour?  We all heard the stories of Prince getting a rather large chunk of the profits, and Cameron clearly has a history of doing whatever it takes to keep costs down. And this thread is indicative of how little these changes will matter to the average theater go-er. People will still come to New York/London to see it, thinking it'll be the same and when it's over they might say hmmm something seemed different but I can't figure out what. Who knows some may even still think it's the original version and walk out saying "omg they like totally need to update it like for realz" like we've seen time and again on this very board.  

Updated On: 6/20/20 at 03:48 PM
Theatrefanboy1
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Phantom to change to #23
Posted: 6/20/20 at 3:58pm
I certainly hope this isn’t true. I’ve only seen the show three times. Broadway west end and then the 25th anniversary tour. I personally didn’t care for the tour with the exception of one or two things. I just wish they would maintain the original in London and New York. Just thinking about it makes me want to see in again on my next visit. It was such perfection of direction and design and music.
SouthernCakes
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Phantom to change to #24
Posted: 6/20/20 at 6:41pm
I think it could use some updates for sure - the mannequins need to be update and I think some of the technical aspects could be updated.
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Lot666
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Phantom to change to #25
Posted: 6/21/20 at 9:44am

As someone who has seen the show 100 times or more (and that's not hyperbole), this change would end my relationship with Phantom. Gutting the Prince/Bjornson masterpiece and installing Cameron Mackintosh's "re-imagined" U.S. Tour production in Her Majesty's Theatre and The Majestic would be an unforgivable sin. 

While first-time tourists in London and New York may account for a healthy slice of Phantom ticket-buyers, the show also enjoys an unusually large amount of repeat visits from theatregoers such as myself. Those whose first exposure to Phantom was the recent CamMack redesign may not care, and may even welcome such a change, but the vast majority of longtime aficionados who were introduced to the show via "the brilliant original" will almost certainly turn away.

As I've said before on this board, I have literally seen Phantom of the Opera at least once every time I've visited New York (which, pre-Covid-19, was typically 3-4 times per year) and London, including both the 25th and 30th anniversary performances in New York and two of the three Royal Albert Hall 25th anniversary performances. If this nightmare becomes reality, it's over. I predict that the show will limp along for a brief period and then close.

Goodbye, "Longest-Running-Musical-in-Broadway History".

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Updated On: 6/21/20 at 09:44 AM