Friday, April 11, 2008

Tonight's Theater: The Phantom of the Opera

We were fortunate to see the wonderful touring production of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA tonight at Segerstrom Hall... the beautiful Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, California:

As I mentioned the other night, I was extremely fortunate to see the long-running Los Angeles production several times, including Michael Crawford on multiple occasions. While the show is pretty much indestructible if performed with a cast of great singers, Crawford brought an extra "something" to the show that will never be duplicated, much as Yul Brynner was the King (I was fortunate to see him in a '70s revival of THE KING AND I) or Robert Preston was Professor Harold Hill.

(Wow, someone's got video on YouTube of the old L.A. PHANTOM production's Act 1's very poor visual quality but it sure conveys Crawford's power in the role. There are a number of other YouTube videos from the production.)

While tonight's production didn't have the same emotional resonance for me as those shows of the late '80s and early '90s, it was beautifully sung and thoroughly enjoyable.

Jason Mills was an excellent Phantom; the program says he has a biology degree from Harvard, which was fascinating background info. I very much liked Sara Jean Ford as Christine -- she had a tall order to fill, as I adore Dale Kristien of the original Los Angeles production. Raoul was played by Greg Mills and he was likewise terrific.

I highly recommend this production if it comes to a city near you.


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