POST: 'The Phantom of the Opera' - that's no excuse

What's it about.

The Phantom of the Opera centers around the young and beautiful singer, Christine Daaé, whose voice and presence attract dangerous levels of attention from a mysterious, musically gifted figure living beneath the Opera house. [P.S. This is Broadway's longest running musical].

My experience.

The first time I saw The Phantom of the Opera was a few years ago with my now ex boyfriend. At the time, I had only seen the film adaptation starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum. When my ex and I got out of the theatre, I told everyone who would listen that The Phantom of the Opera was my favorite traditional musical, period. I couldn't get over the spectacle of the show, the talented singers, the set design, everything. This was Broadway. This was why the show had run for as long as it had, and why it would continue to run. 

For my second time around, this time, I brought my mother with me, who had also only seen the production once, but years ago with my father. I did find it a little interesting that prior to experiencing The Phantom of the Opera for a second time, the only Broadway show I had seen twice was Kinky Boots, and both were entirely different experiences. I could only wonder how my two experiences with The Phantom of the Opera would differ from each other. 

For one thing, this was a matinee. I'm a person who loves her lounge time on the weekends, and I'll almost always prefer to see shows in the evening so I'll have that time to unwind before forcing myself to put clothes on and actually leave my house. But this show started at 2:00pm, and so naturally, instead of arriving a half hour before showtime like responsible adults, my mom and I were full on sprinting to the theatre at five past 2:00pm. Thankfully, there were still many people entering the theatre when we arrived, and we hadn't missed anything. But we were definitely sweaty and out of breath by the time we had found our seats. 

  Gerard Butler.

Gerard Butler.

It was harder for me to feel for the Phantom this time around. In the film version, I was majorly crushing on Gerard Butler, so I pretty easily took his side.

  Norm Lewis.

Norm Lewis.

And when I saw the stage version the first time, the Phantom was played by freaking Norm Lewis, who just had such a presence and well, was a total super star, so it was impossible not to be charmed by him.

This Phantom gave me way more creep vibes. I mean, he was obsessed with Christine, who, admittedly, was inexplicably drawn to the Phantom as well. But Christine was in love with Raoul, a man who was also genuinely in love with her. Despite their shared feelings, they weren't allowed to be together in the way they wanted because of the Phantom's jealousy and possessiveness over Christine. Which, is like, majorly not cool. The Phantom actually kidnapped Christine, not once but twice, whisking her away to his lair against her will, even going as far as attempting to force her to marry him. 

I get that the Phantom had a troubled past, was disfigured, and felt that he couldn't exist in society without being ridiculed, but that's no excuse for him to force a woman to care for him. He also killed people, as in multiple people. And yeah, he ultimately spared Raoul's life, and allowed Christine to be with Raoul because he loved her so much, but he was still a cold blooded murderer. Christine said it best when she told him that it wasn't his face that was deformed, but his soul. His ugliness was more internal than he knew, and it took being confronted with that fact for him to realize it and then change his ways. 

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Ooo, on an unrelated note, the famous chandelier-falling-down-scene - WAY more epic than I remembered it. From where we were seated in the mezzanine, we had an ideal view, and it honestly looked like the chandelier was going to hit people in the orchestra. Obviously it didn't, but still...

Towards the end I felt something resembling pity for the Phantom. He was collapsed on the floor, broken, gently singing the words, "Masquerade, hide your face so the world will never find you." And I knew he was singing about himself. He believed he was alone, and it caused him to behave the way he did. And even though the way he went about it was definitely, definitely wrong, his end goal was to procure love for himself, companionship. And that's something I can understand.

Note: I saw this back in October, so it is a different Phantom now.


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