Last night at the Kennedy I saw Phantom of the Opera. I tried to do a quick calculation of the number of times I’ve seen he show. I think it is 11. I will be seeing it one more time before it leaves Washington.
The first time I saw it was in London. I debating with myself about whether I should see the show or not. I finally decided I had to see it. I bought an expensive seat from some ticket broker and sat way way up high. Michael Crawford was about 5 inches tall from my vantage point (ok probably more than that). I just thought it was great (thus the reason I’ve seen it so many times). I later learned the Crawford had left the show due to a hiatal hernia. However, the guy that replaced him fell through a trap door and got hurt. I think he broke a knee cap or something. All I can say to that is ouch. So I was lucky to be able to see him.
When it came to New York, I saw him there. He was much taller. Of all the phantoms I’ve seen, Crawford’s been the best which is after all to be expected since he originated the role. But the reason is he had the most expressive hands of all the actors to play the role. If you’ve seen the show you’ll understand what I mean for those who haven’t there’s a long scene in the second act where he has a hood over his head and the only way he can emote is through his hands.
Last night’s phantom was very good too. In fact I thought the entire cast did a good job. There were a couple of technical glitches in the opening scene when the opera house in all its glory is revealed. Some of the fabric covering the sets got stuck and it took a few good hard tugs to get it free.
I still got a chill up my spine when the auctioneer says:
Lot 666, then: a chandelier in pieces. Some of you may recall the strange affair of the Phantom of the Opera: a mystery never fully explained. We are told ladies and gentlemen, that this is the very chandelier which figures in the famous disaster. Our workshops have restored it and fitted up parts of it with wiring for the new electric light, so that we may get a hint of what it may look like when re-assembled. Perhaps we may frighten away the ghost of so many years ago with a little illumination, gentlemen?
And the music swells and the chandelier starts it ascent to the ceiling
The last half of the second act has me on the edge of my seat. I know what’s going to happen, but I still get drawn into the action.
I had a wonderful evening. Here's a link to a story about John Cudia being transformed into the Phantom.