Celebrating its 30th anniversary as a Broadway production, the iconic musical Phantom of the Opera, performed by the Phantom of the Opera North American Tour, arrived in Honolulu to deliver a spectacular performance. Producers Cameron Mackintosh and Lauren Connor’s Phantom made its premiere on August 7 at the Blaisdell Concert Hall with new scenery and staging to complement the age-old music. Performed by a cast and orchestra totaling 52 members, Phantom is not only the oldest but also one of the largest Broadway productions currently touring in North America. This specific production first premiered in North America in November of 2013 and has since been seen by over 3.7 million people.
The story follows the innocent soprano Christine Daaé, who meets the masked Phantom with a hideous face who lurks within the opera house’s catacombs. He pursues a reign of terror over all those who live there, destroying the stage along with the chandelier, killing two people, and abducting Christine to keep her with him forever. The tale is one of love and loss, passion and hatred, and good and evil.
Christine was performed by newcomer Emma Grimsley, as her first-ever lead in a theatrical production. Up until this North American Tour, the role had been played by Eva Tavares with Grimsley being the understudy. Grimsley displayed her enchanting voice, captivating the audience with songs such as The Phantom of the Opera, Think of Me, and of course, All I Ask of You. Joining her on the stage was the talented Jordan Craig as Raoul, who captured the audience with his heart-wrenching voice, perfectly harmonizing with Grimsley in their duet. Their chemistry is perfect for the role of lovers oppressed by the Phantom, played by Derrick Davis. This was Davis’ first performance since rejoining the cast of Phantom and once again he brought brilliant charisma to his character. In his most prominent songs such as Music of the Night, Davis is able to emulate the longing and despair of his character and enthrall the audience completely.
The cast pulled off their spectacular performance by bringing in new choreography and sets. The dances were made to compliment the large cast, and included several numbers in which the entire stage was filled. In the song Masquerade, the entire cast appeared on stage in an assortment of whimsical costumes, sporting masks, and headdresses. The song took skillful coordination from the cast, and their months of practice were apparent in the way they performed the parts. One number with well-executed singing was the song Point of No Return, featuring Christine and the Phantom in a passionate duet of love featuring the pained singing of the two. The chemistry between the characters is masterfully developed throughout the performance, displaying the grandeur and beauty of a well-performed play.This production of Phantom made a mark in history with its exhilarating performances. The cast and production obviously worked hard to pull together a stunning play, managing to put their own spin on the classic tale while still keeping everything that sets Phantom apart from the other plays. Even the opera’s composer, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, applauds Mackintosh for his excellent production. “I am really pleased that [Cameron Mackintosh and] Laurence Connor’s new production of Phantom will continue to tour the U.S. playing in tandem with the Broadway production which just celebrated 30 years at the Majestic Theatre,” Lloyd-Webber said. As the curtains close on this leg of their journey, the Phantom of the Opera North American Tour cast members celebrate a success that truly captures what makes a musical memorable.
Contributed by Kyle Heim