Phantom of the Opera
Webber has composed 13 musicals, a song cycle, a set of variations, two film scores, and a Latin Requiem Mass. He has also gained a number of accolades, including a knighthood in 1992, seven Tony Awards, three Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, seven Olivier Awards, and a Golden Globe Award. (Wikipedia) The Phantom of the Opera is made up of a huge cast, with the biggest names in song and theatre comprising it The cast features Hugh Panaro as The Phantom, Sara Jean Ford as Christine Daae, Ryan Silverman as Raoul, and Patricia Phillips as Carlotta Giudicelli..
The Broadway production was directed by Hal Prince. The musical follows the main character, a deformed Phantom who lurks beneath the stage of the Paris Opera. Over the years, the Phantom has been a terrifying presence at the opera house by occasionally revealing himself to the occupants. He ends up falling in love with the young singer Christine and he devotes his time and energy to making her a star. But she rejects him and falls in love with her friend, Raoul, causing the Phantom to undergo a murderous rampage.
The production dissects a variety of different themes including appearance versus reality and the idea of innocence. The Majestic Theatre production of Phantom of the Opera used a combination of theatrical elements to allow the audience to absorb and comprehend the ideas and feelings that Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote into the script. These elements include use of lighting, stage/set, acting, and costume design. In order to successfully put on this production, the director needed to blend these elements together harmoniously.
The plays sets were designed by Maria Bjornson and its lighting was directed by Andrew Bridge (Zinoman). The set was elaborate and ever changing. Scenes of different areas in the opera house must be replicated and changed frequently. Many settings feature candle light, fog, dark colors, and the famous pipe organ. The overall theme of the set is gothic, reflecting on the time-period of the supposed events and the very nature of the production. The most memorable and noticeable feature of the set though is the large chandelier that is lowered from the ceiling.
This is a jaw-dropping set piece, catching the eyes of every single audience member. The chandelier captures the very essence of the production, beauty and wonder through sorrow and pain. The direction of lighting was essential to the production of the play. The lighting focused the audience’s attention of specific characters and allowed the production to remain dark, gloomy, and romantic while still able to be easily viewed by the audience. Maria Bjornson also headed costumes for the production of Phantom (Zinoman).
The costumes that the actors wore on stage further emphasized the gothic nature of the production and the beauty that it exemplifies. Each piece of clothing was very detailed and intricately made. The most memorable costume though is the Phantom’s mask. It is simple and white yet appears sophisticated. It is meant to hide his apparent mutilated face and it comes off as classic and strangely beautiful. It is the symbol of the production and never escaped the audience’s mind. Concerning acting, the cast did an amazing job and they did justice to the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The production has been featured on Broadway for about twenty years and many actors have come and gone from the cast. This current cast did a great job filling the roles of the stars that had roamed the stage in the cast. The singing was phenomenal and left most audience members in awe. The legacy and fame of Phantom allowed the production to obtain the top talent in the industry and it shows night after night. The attention of the audience is never lost, with eyes and minds focused on the stage from start to finish. The production stirs the question of what is the disparity between reality and appearance.
The phantom character is utilized to stress this theme through, obviously, the mask that he wears. When he is wearing his mask, Christine pities and feels sorry for him. She is able to see his musical gift and believes him to be a “beautiful” individual. But when she sees the Phantom without his mask, she loses this “love” for him and is horrified. He is no longer a mentor and an “angel” rather he is a monster and an outcast. Overall, the production of Phantom of the Opera was a fantastic play and one that demonstrates the unbelievable atmosphere of Broadway.