BWW Review: Reimagined PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Has A Spectacular New Magic Of Its Own
Even if you've managed to avoid seeing Phantom of the Opera in its decades of existence, you can tell there's something fresh about the current tour.
The longest-running musical on Broadway has been around since the mid-'80s, and only a few years ago its touring production received a bit of a tech revamp. Most notably, there's a new chandelier, and it operates a little differently.
If you caught Phantom on its last visit to Denver, that's the first glimpse our audiences had of the redesign. But don't worry, Phantom still has the classic vibe you love about it.
And of course, the story is still the same. At the Paris Opera House in 1881, the resident Phantom has been giving chorus girl Christine Daae private singing lessons, grooming her to be a star while falling in love with her. When she takes over after diva soprano Carlotta leaves the company, the Phantom demands she takes her place, even writing a role for her. All the while, Christine meets a childhood beau, Raoul, and begins to fall in love with him, upsetting the Phantom. When the opera house doesn't meet the Phantom's demands, he terrorizes the venue.
My first (and only) visit to Phantom was about a decade ago, so I can't recall exactly what's changed. What I can tell you is the new version held my attention more. It feels more vibrant, and the technical effects even more stunning.
The stage is cleverly constructed like a turntable, providing a more realistic look into the bowels of the theatre. There are stunning pyrotechnics, and the set seems to work like magic.
And while the visuals are worth admission alone, the performances are top quality. Derrick Davis as the Phantom has a powerful voice and persona, giving the character heartwrenching complexities. Emma Grimsley's Christine has a great journey from timid chorus girl to exuberant leading lady, singing the role effortlessly. As Raoul, Jordan Craig is a classic leading man, virile and tenacious with a captivating voice.
In the musical theatre canon, I've never considered myself much of a diehard Phantom fan (a Phan, if you will), but the spectacular magic behind this production reminded me what an epic night at the theatre really feels like.
Phantom of the Opera plays the Buell Theatre at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts through Nov 17. Tickets at DenverCenter.org.