REVIEW: The Phantom of the Opera

photo by Matthew Murphy

photo by Matthew Murphy

Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s phenomenal musical success, The Phantom of the Opera is now in Minneapolis.  I was invited by the Hennepin Theatre Trust to check out the show last evening.  It had been about two decades since I last saw Phantom live in Chicago so it’s difficult for me to compare this new production to the older version.

When it comes to musicals, The Phantom of the Opera delivers the most bang for your buck!  Every number is a showstopper; nothing feels like filler.  The relatively new vocal talent is extraordinary across the board. The casting is really fantastic and all of the harmonies blended as smooth as velvet.  It’s easy to be critical with such challenging vocal roles, but the cast seemed to effortlessly achieve a magnificent performance.  In addition, the booming orchestra lent a fantastic sense of intensity to the score, which is just as critical as the vocals because this is music you really want cranked up to eleven!

The new set is elaborate and rich, despite the relatively cramped stage of the Orpheum.  Every scene is a visual delight, with meticulous costumes and set pieces.  There appear to be a few kinks with one of the scenes, however: the fold-out walls of the managers’ office kept creeping back inward over several scenes.  The cast did an excellent job of holding them in place while carrying on with the show.  The audience started to chuckle audibly after a while, but I just chalked it up to the work of our own Phantom of the Orpheum–a much less malevolent figure than Lloyd Weber’s troubled Phantom.  Fortunately, all of the fun and exciting pyrotechnics went off without a hitch!

I left the theater thoroughly impressed.  I liked this production of Phantom more than the recent production of Les Miserables and my husband felt it left his recent favorite, Wicked, in the dust, which took me by surprise.  I strongly believe that this is one touring show that you do not want to miss.  I may just have to see it again before it leaves town… It was that good!

The Phantom of the Opera is at the Orpheum Theatre through January 5, 2014.  Tickets start at $39.

DEAL ALERT: Student Rush Tickets are available for all performances.  2 tickets per valid ID; $25 per ticket, cash only; available only at the Orpheum Theatre Box Office beginning 2 hours prior to each performance; student/educator must be present with valid ID at time of purchase; resale or transfer of rush tickets is strictly prohibited and all tickets are subject to availability.