BWW Review: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall
For the first time in almost 25 years, The Phantom of the Opera returns to Honolulu, Hawaii at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center's concert hall. In what is arguably the best national tour to arrive to the island since the turn of the century, Phantom takes its audience on a transcending viewing experience that will certainly leave them in awe.
With the beloved score by Broadway-Composer veteran Andrew Llyod Webber---also of Cats and Jesus Christ Superstar fame, among many others---this production maintains the exact songs and lyrics of the traditional Broadway fanfare but interestingly both updates and alters elements of the storyline, though nothing too drastic or extreme to deter hard-core fans of the lionized show. The three main characters remain the same, found within the love triangle of the titular Phantom, played devotedly by Derrick Davis, a tormented "monster" that lurks in the shadows of the show's theatre, who becomes instantly enamored of the opera's rising star, Christine Daaé (an enchanting Emma Grimsley), who finds herself in love with her childhood sweetheart Raoul (a steadfast Jordan Craig).
There are a manifold of spectacular elements of the show. Notably---of course---is the infamous chandelier drop, accompanied by the resounding overture, that instantly produced chills from head to toe due to its grandiosity and splendor. Additionally, the costumes, while expected to be of Victorian tradition, include a modern spin, from its colors to design-nuances, still maintaining the aura of a "period piece". Finally, the set is most impressive. The large set piece that acts as multiple settings constantly evolves but sustains seamless transitions, as the direction calls for attention solely upon the focus of the scene. Viewers must be warned, however, that this production includes strobe lights and fire, which may become jarring to some. However, it adds to the overall grandeur of the show.
There aren't many faults of this visually arresting production. From both the on-stage and musical direction, to the costumes and set, to the performances, to even the set design, Phantom is truly a marvel to behold. And while the pacing slightly falters in some scenes---primarily the ones including the opera owners---the show quickly recovers in what it subsequently offers within the performances and set.
The Phantom of the Opera at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center's concert hall is a delight. Nearly all of its constituents comprise an awe-inspiring production that will leave audiences rapt in its beauty. Considering the tumult of the country in its current climate, Phantom is the perfect three-hour escape for those just looking to transport themselves to an otherworldly experience. The show opened on August 7 and runs through September 1, with tickets still available.