This is the only word that can ever possibly describe my beloved Phantom of the Opera. No, the show is never perfect, last night there were quite a few mishaps we witnessed, but in my eyes, the show is perfect. It's a wonderful love story and I'm so blessed to have seen it again.
The drive to Cleveland was sweltering. Lauren had forgotten to inform us that her car had no air conditioning, and we almost got lost in Cleveland trying to find a place to park before just using the vallet service. We met up with some other phans and off we were to the theater just down the street. We attended a pre-show talk where in my head, I corrected the speaker at least 3 times (silly presenters, learn your info!) and then onto our wonderful seats in the balcony. They were actually almost the same place as when I saw it on Broadway, but the other side of the theater. First time, I was on the right with Alyssa, this time, the left with my friends. The seats were perfect.
I was riddled with anxiety before the show. Would Tim Martin Gleason, the first Raoul I saw, live up to the mask as the Phantom? Would I like Trista Moldovan as Christine? Would Sean MacLaughlin impress me as Raoul?
The answer to all of these questions is no. No, Tim didn't live up to the mask, he EXCEEDED my expectations. No, I didn't like Trista, I LOVED her. And no, Sean didn't impress me, he AMAZED me. It was perfect. Every time I turned to Cesca with excitement about the show, a huge smile was plastered on her face. Katrina was brought to tears at the end (of course, who isn't) and there was a standing ovation. God, every time I see it, I can't believe I've seen it, and every time makes me want to see it more and more. Can I ever explain my love of Phantom? I don't think so. It's so much a part of me that it's as natural as breathing, which is scary but true.
So, the highlights:
The costumes, especially the Hannibal costumes are so impossibly beautiful on stage, and pictures can't do their sparkle and shine justice. (Side notes, that's not Trista, that's Sierra Boggess)
Trista Moldovan was a wonderful Christine, her acting was lovely, her chemistry, she really fit into the character. She's the only Christine I've seen use the scarf in Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, and she was really feisty in Point of No Return, which I enjoyed. She also had the best scream I've heard from a Christine when she unmasks the Phantom the first time
Tim Martin Gleason is an excellent and terrifying Phantom. I could feel the menace in the Final Lair when he snarled "You try my patience, make your choice." And the way he acted Point of no Return was brilliant. He was seductive yet forceful, which is what the scene is all about. Not like raping her forceful, but he really had her under his spell and it was brilliant. His maniacal laughter and his pitiful 'I love yous' at the end rounded out his amazing performance.
Honestly, and I'm frightened that this is coming out of my mouth/off of my fingers?, my favorite cast member in the show would have to have been Sean MacLaughlin, Raoul. As a Phantom/Christine fan, I'm usually not quite sold on Raoul, preferring her to be with Erik but accepting that Raoul's a good guy. Not this time. The second he appeared on stage, his boyish charm and wonderfully good looks made me fall almost instantly in love with him, and it's easy to see why Christine was so smitten. Hell, I would have married him too if he asked. (That's them -->)
Honestly, their chemistry was amazing. Their All I Ask of You literally moved me to tears. The love in their voices and such was so blatantly obvious that I found myself rooting for Raoul to get the girl. When he picked her up and spun her around and kissed her like she was his lifeline, my heart was a puddle of goo. That is, until the Phantom rose on the angel statue to sing of his heartbreak. Then I had to knock myself back into reality and say 'Wait a minute, you should want the Phantom to win!'
This was the first time that I actually found myself torn between the two. Usually, no matter how good the Raoul, I'm always like "but she reaaaaaaaaaally belongs with the Phantom." Not this time, which is a good thing because that's how you're supposed to feel.
Anyway, the lowlights, of which there aren't really any, they are mostly mishaps in the show:
In the beginning there are curtains that cover parts of the stage that get removed during the overture. One of them got stuck for a bit and we all sat terrified that it wasn't going to come off and they were going to have to leave it.
A couple of slightly off notes that probably weren't too noticable to someone who only occasionally listens to the soundtrack, but they weren't terrible.
I didn't like the Meg that much, but she's a bit part so that wasn't a big deal.
After seeing it on Broadway, I was reminded how much more a few trap doors can add to the show, but that can't be helped. Minor detail that was easily overlooked.
The worst thing is that Act II goes too damn fast. I want to see Point of No Return so badly but then it comes and I realize the show is practically over. Then I'm depressed.
I also, sadly, did not catch Tim Martin Gleason or Sean MacLaughlin at the stage door. I did manage to meet Trista, and she's super nice and I gorgeous. So it wasn't a total loss. Also, I don't know why my camera effed up the color, but oh well. I met Christine!!!
So, the verdict:
Obviously, the show is/was amazing. The cast was excellent, although I'd say that John Cudia, of the two I recently saw, has the edge. His Music of the Night was a bit more powerful and soft when needed. Tim Martin Gleason is kind of a crossover voice of Ramin Karimloo and John Cudia, and he plays the role well. I wish I could see him after a year or two playing the Phantom, because the longer they go the more comfortable they are in the role, but alas, this is the last run of the tour =(.
Sean= Best Raoul I've seen (Sorry Tim and Ryan Silverman!)
I can't decide who I liked better as Christine, Trista or Jennifer Hope Wills. I don't usually have a preference for Christine, besides not Sarah Brightman. I'm impressed by most of their singing and acting. I think Trista might only have an edge because of her chemistry with Sean in All I Ask of You. Both were brilliant so I'm going to leave that one a tie.
All in all, my life is now both complete and utterly incomplete again. Complete because i got to see the show, incomplete because it makes me want to see it again so badly. Whiiiiiiiiich brings me to my next point. We may have some new DVDs to watch this year =).