Sunday, February 3, 2013

25 years young

A week ago I was driving back to Ithaca after an incredibly exhausting but amazing weekend. Seeing Phantom's 25th made me really appreciate how long it's been running and how many times I have gotten to see it. And since I don't care that much about the Superbowl and have time to kill before Aqua Zumba, I thought I would write brief thoughts on the show.

The energy was electric, and even though we had to wait for the crew to set up the stage after the video, it didn't delay our enthusiasm. It may have, in fact, increased it, as several people began cheering on the stage crew while setup was being complete- especially the ladder guy.

I loved the cast- Hugh is probably my second or third favorite Phantom (JOJ and John Cudia are up there as well, rounding out the top 3 and changing positions, depending on the day) and I was excited to see him perform again.  His 'Be' in MOTN was out of this world awesome, and his Final Lair is sarcastic, crazy, furious and heart breaking (his doll throw was really awesome too, as was his mocking of Raoul). His title track was really excellent this time, I liked it a lot more, and he does one of my all time favorite choices when he does a little 'ah' gasp during "only then can you belong to me..." because I just think that it is a nice touch to the character. Glad Hugh adopted it.

Sierra actually impressed me this time, probably because she had better leads to play off of and a less LND direction to go in. I felt like this time she really, truly chose Raoul and really, really loved him. She had a great, less deer in the headlights MOTN and her reaction to the 'Be' was great. You could feel her terror for the Phantom, but also the sympathy and pain at the end when she had to give the ring back. She still doesn't react enough to the mask in PONR for me, but that's just a personal preference. She still says her L's a bit weird (like All, cold, etc) but it didn't bug me as much this time.

Kyle was a surprise for me, because he's generally not my favorite Raoul, and sometimes I think he's pretty forgettable. But I was pleasantly surprised by his Raoul this time, maybe because of the presence of so many people, he stepped it up. His reactions during TOM and the dressing room were great, and really anything is better than the douchebag portrayal of Hadley Fraser's Raoul. Kyle's Raoul wasn't snarky or eye rolling during AIAOY, and he added sweet romantic touches that made me tear up. Okay, I tear up a lot during AIAOY, it's just such a wonderful love song!!! I also liked his reluctance to leave the Phantom during Final Lair, like he couldn't believe the Phantom was doing this and maybe he finally felt sympathy instead of hate and rivalry with him? I dunno, but I still liked it.

So overall, the main trio was much better than I expected, and they got applause almost every time they sang (which was nice for a while, but the almost standing ovation after Wishing, great as it was, was a bit excessive). Somebody near us kept trying to clap at the most random moments, which was pretty awkward, but it was still fun.

The supporting cast is excellent on Broadway, from Carlotta (hilarious! Loved her "You have been here 5 minutes, WHAT DO YOU KNOW!") to the managers to all of the chorus. They were just spot on. I especially love Michelle during Il Muto when she has to repeat "You cannot speak, but kiss me..." because some Carlotta's don't react that much, but she emphasized the awkwardness of already getting rid of Seraphimo's pretense costume, which I found hilarious.

I will say, though, I do really miss seeing the show with a bunch of first timers, because I love hearing their audible reactions to things like the mirror or the reprise of AIAOY (I still remember the audible gasps I heard in Her Majesty's in London when JOJ rose up from behind the Angel). But being with a bunch of people who loved the show as much as I did was amaaaaazing, and getting to share it with Cesca for our Phanniversary was even better!

I really wish I had this performance on DVD instead of the RAH one, because I think it represented the show better, since it was a performance in the actual theater and not LND biased, but whatever. I'm beyond thrilled I got to see it.

I loved the after show speeches, though I am kind of disappointed that they did essentially the same thing they did at the RAH, and they only used ONE Broadway Phantom, Hugh. I get that Peter is joining (and I'm debating making the trip back to see him and Sam later this year), and I LOVE JOJ, but really, I KNOW there were plenty of Broadway Phantoms around NYC and AT THE SHOW. Whyyyyyyyyyyy did we need Ramin there? OH RIGHT CAUSE RIERRA IS THE GOLDEN COUPLE. Like, they've shown pics of a bunch of the Phantoms as the party (and Christines), why couldn't they be there singing too? Meh, can't win them all.

I would have liked to see a more Broadway-centric finale, but hey, I loved seeing every bit of it anyway.

I'm sure I'll be adding more random thoughts later to this, but overall I'm so grateful I got to be a part of this monumental occasion. Thank you Phantom and the Universe for allowing me to share this special event with so many amazing people!

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