Since it’s January 26th 1988 opening on Broadway, The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber is now the longest running show on Broadway in history with no end in sight. As it nears its 30th year Phantom, a phenomenon which currently has 9 productions worldwide, has been newly reinvented. It retains it’s original storyline, score & Tony Award winning costumes, designed by Maria Bjornson. The sound, pyrotechnics and sets have been given new life, making them “bigger and better than ever before.” Together director Laurence Conner and set designer Paul Brown has brought new mystery to this already legendary tale.
Based on Le Fantome Dr L’Opera, a classic novel by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera tells the tale of a masked figure who lurks in the catacombs underneath the Paris Opera House. As he asserts his dominance making demands & reining terror in all whom reside within its walls, our ominous lead falls madly in love with Christine, devoting himself to use whatever means necessary to make her a star, through devious manipulation her “Angel of Music.”
With it being my first time at the Detroit Opera House I was enthralled by not only the beauty of the set design but the architecture of the building itself. The present Detroit Opera House opened in 1922 and was known as the Capitol Theatre. It was among the first of several performance venues built around Detroit’s Grand Circus Park. When it opened, the Capitol was reportedly the fifth largest movie theater in the world, seating about 3,500 people.
Taking in as much detail as I could we quickly sat down amongst our fellow theatre goers, holding our breath as the house lights lowered and the stage lights rose giving the actors their cue to breathe life into their characters, every movement filled with emotion and purpose. The iconic chandelier hanging above the crowd slowly lowered, seemingly covered by cobwebs and a sign reading lot #666, haunted by the memories of its past, before it reveals is splendor & magnificence as music fills you to your very core.
The costumes were stunning, set design impeccable with breathtaking transformations, leaving you in wonder of how they could create such splendor. The stage itself moving in such fluidity that it becomes as much a character in the production as the actors performing on it. There was so much talent on stage from Katie Travis who plays Christine Daae with such grace and passion as she survives the horrors around her, to her love interest Raoul played by Jordan Craig (whom we had the pleasure of running into on our departure), who’s commanding presence on the stage has you pulling for him every step of the way. Our favorite would probably be the Phantom portrayed by Derrick Davis (who sources say has a love for cake that rivals my own). No stranger to the stage he puts everything he has into his role, leaving you as emotionally torn as his leading lady & wanting more.
This was by far the best production I have ever seen on stage and implore you to go “Past the Point of No Return” & enjoy the “Music of the Night” by going to see The Phantom of the Opera! The show will continue to run until January 22nd 2017 at the Detroit Opera House located at 1526 Broadway in Detroit.