on saturday night don and i went and saw the phantom of the opera at the keller auditorium. don was a phantom virgin, this was my second time (third if you count the bland movie version). the phantom of the opera is by far my favorite musical. i remember the music teacher in middle school introducing the class to it, using it to teach us all about musical theater, since then i was in love with the score. i think he was a little obsessed with it, because of him i know all about the costumes, the puppets used in the “masquerade” scene, and even about the curtains used in the original london and broadway productions. for some reason i didn’t get around to seeing an actual production of it till i forced morgan to see it with me in london four or five years ago, i think part of me was waiting till i could see it in london. while i loved seeing phantom, i was not all that thrilled by the actors that played the phantom or christine. neither of them had any real stage presence.
that was certainly not the case at the keller on saturday. even though four out of the seven main characters were played by understudies, it was astounding. the phantom, played by stephen tewksbury, commanded the stage with a full booming voice that took full advantage of the keller’s acoustics. trista moldovan, who took over the role of christine when the original was called back to new york, was wonderful. she embodied the vulnerability of the character and had great chemistry with two male leads.
easily the star of the show is the andrew lloyd webber composed score with lyrics by charles hart and richard stilgoe. the score is romantic, menacing, and comic within the same song. the lyric are timeless and carry the story in ways that aren’t forced, sometimes in musical the songs seem awkward. despite how cheesy phantom seems to a lot of people, it is still my favorite musical.