Thursday, January 15, 2015

Phantom of the Opera #59 NOTES!

It's been awhile since I've reviewed a Phantom of the Opera performance or a book. I want to be more active with this blog again so here goes!

On January 14, 2015 my friend Janell and I had the luck to once again visit the Majestic Theatre to see another performance of Phantom of the Opera! My 59th time, her 4th time!

Janell and I eagerly awaiting the show, happy to be seeing it again!

So here's some brief notes about this performance!

Norm Lewis- It was my third time seeing Norm in the role of the Phantom! I love his phantom! I love the deeper voice he gives to the character, I love his final lair scene. I could see this man in the role again and again but I think last night is definitely going to be the last time I got to see him in the role.

Julia Udine - Julia Udine is the new Christine. She replaced Mary Michael Patterson. So in my opinion she started out weaker and got a lot stronger towards the end of the show. But I'm thinking she might have done that on purpose to show the character progression of Christine because I've seen other Christines approach the role in the same way.

Julia Udine and myself before the show started!
Linda Balgord - Linda Balgord is the new Mme. Giry on Broadway. I thought she was okay. Her voice gave the right Mme. Giry tone, but she looked like a fairy godmother version of Mme. Giry instead of the wise foreboding figure that lurks about the Paris Opera House giving a tiny bit of protection to the phantom.

So those are my notes, and let me conclude any one of these actors would do a way better job than I would ever do if I had to walk across the Majestic Stage to be in the show!

One of two curtain call photos I snuck in before the usher yelled at me to stop taking pictures even though it was curtain call!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

James Barbour will be the new phantom....and there's a possible scandal as well!

On February 9, 2015 James Barbour will take over the title role in the Phantom of the Opera! He will join new cast members Julia Udine (Christine) & Linda Balgord (Mme. Giry).

Broadway's New Phantom!

Welcome to the Cast James Barbour!
There is however a scandal surrounding this actor that has caused a little bit of a sensation. According to Playbill, Barbour sexually touched a 15 year old fan after a performance of Jane Eyre in 2001 and again when she visited his apartment later that evening.

Some phans don't welcome the news about this scandal. I myself am not sure what to think. This could have happened, it could have been consensual, and lots of girls look older than they are so he could have mistaken her for a 20 year old instead of a 15 year old. At the same time the girl could have lied to get some attention, yes some victims really are sexually assaulted and yes some girls lie about it to get attention or to ruin a man who has rejected their advances. So personally I'm on the fence. I was a little disgusted when I found out about the scandal, but objectively I don't know what to think. Feel free to share your thoughts or opinions about the matter in the comments of my blog entry. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Phantom of the Opera animated film!

There's a new project on kickstarter that some phans have started noticing. In Australia production is in the works for a new animated version of Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera!

If you wish to back this project here's the link!

I would love a new animated phantom, so in addition to blogging about this, I'm also going to pledge some money as well :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bayshore High School's production of Phantom of the Opera (Notes)

On Thursday March 13, 2014, Friday March 14, 2014 and Saturday March 15, 2014, Bayshore High School in Bayshore, NY located on Long Island performed Phantom of the Opera. All performances started at 7 P.M. When I found out about the production, I had to go because Bayshore is very close to where I live. So I actually ended up getting my mother in law, my cousin, my aunt, my grandmother, a friend of mine and two of her family members to attend the production with me on Saturday night.

I figure when that awful time hits Broadway and phantom closes down (let's hope NEVER!), that I'll have to get used to attending High School productions to get my fix, supplementing these mediocre performances with any bootlegs I can get my hands on, and the filmed concert of the 25th Anniversary production at Royal Albert Hall.

Before I give you my thoughts & notes about the actual show let me just say my acting is mediocre at best and my singing is awful, so even though I might post some criticisms, I'm pretty sure almost anyone could do a better job acting or singing POTO than me. 

For a High School production the set designs were actually pretty amazing. The chandelier was way better than Great Neck High School's Chandelier. (Great Neck is the only other High School production I've seen to date). I'm not sure if the students used any strobe lights but they managed a stage effect where the chandelier flickered or blinked the lights. The Phantom's lair and the AIAOY rooftop scene were the best sets IMO.

The costumes were done pretty well too. Apparently one of the mother's hand sewed the costumes for the cast over 3 months time. She did a whiz bang job! The one costume piece that bothered me was Christine's wig in the beginning of the show. She ended up wearing a different wig for AIAOY and for the second act but during Hannibal, Think of Me and the title song she looked like she was wearing a rat's nest on her head.

Masquerade was performed circa the 2004 film! The cast wore evening dresses and suits or tuxes for the men and they waved red fans around during different parts of the Masquerade choreography. I would have liked to have seen renditions of the Broadway costumes but given the fact that the costumes were single-handedly done by one of the cast member's mothers in 3 months time I could understand why they went in this direction for Masquerade.

The principal cast had excellent voices. Lindsay Tierney seemed to have a mildly hard time with Carlotta, but Carlotta and Christine are very tough roles to sing. For a HS girl she did a good job. Asia Stewart was Christine, her voice seemed a little deep to me but she still pulled it off.  Remson DeJoseph played the phantom. He did really well until the final lair scene. He made Erik more angry, I do not like violent angry Eriks. For me there has to be a balance during the final scene. He's very angry but he's also hurt, confused and slightly tender. He just didn't get that at the end. James Vaughn played Raoul and he upstaged Remson DeJoseph during the final lair scene. He was choking on the punjab lasso and while Christine kissed Erik, he was screaming very clearly "No! Christine you don't love him!" It was a weird call but I guess that's what he felt when he was playing the part.

Overall this production had better sets, but Great Neck had better actors and singers. For a High School production both schools did really well. Phantom is very hard to perform on a High School level so mistakes are bound to happen. I've only seen one 17 year old who happens to be a friend of mine sing and nail the part of Christine to the T.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Erik: Portrait of a living corpse

Recently I purchased this movie for viewing and for my collection! Here's my thoughts/notes about it!

I thought the cinematography was good, I liked how the director used older black and white cinematography and mixed it with modern cinematography as well. I also thought this lent more to a view of Erik's feelings. I felt like this movie was a mix of the 1925 lon chaney version and David Staller's 1990 version.

As far as the acting goes I feel Christine was okay, Mme. Giry was excellent and Meg Giry left something to be desired. Erik is a good actor but his latex make up and mask could use a little more work. His voice is ghostly and less angelic, he's also a little more violent with a twist of humor when he performs a violent act.

Raoul's very jerky looking and his character is actually quite comical.

Overall for an independent film it's pretty good, funny at times, I'm guessing by the ending that the story continues and I would like to view the next production release of the continued story if it does indeed happen.

Manifestations of a Phantom's soul volume 2 by Michelle Rodriguez

This lovely work of Phan Phic was a Christmas gift to me from my dear friend Jessica. Even though I have lots of phantom books at home that I have yet to read I figured it was long overdue for a phantom reading and review blog entry. So I started reading!

This book is wonderful. There's ten short stories, the stories are variations on the theme of Christine and Erik's love. Some stories are erotic, some have happy endings, some have extremely sad endings. I liked it because it wasn't the same old Erik & Christine happily ever after, each story had a different possibility.

Michelle's work is worth the read I've already picked up one of her other non phantom novels and I intend to pick up more of her phan phiction to read in the future after I get through stuff in my personal collection that I have yet to read! Or re-read! I would re-read Michelle's work!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Phantom of the Opera #52 NOTES

My new prized possession! 
I thought on September 26 my performances of phantom were over for 2013, but I was wrong. My little brother wanted to take me for Christmas and in return for Christmas I'd treat him to dinner and drinks. Together we'd have a nice memory of the city at Christmas and seeing phantom and that would be our gifts to each other. I couldn't turn down phantom so off we went on December 3 for my 52nd time, possibly my brother's third time, and my fifth time this year! Can I re live 2013? I'd like to see phantom 5 times each year!

My brother and I in our seats, I look half crazed my brother has some swag!

The main cast members were Hugh Panaro (the phantom), Jeremy Hays (Raoul), and Mary Michael Patterson (Christine). I was really excited to see Mary Michael Patterson because I haven't gotten to see her in the role of Christine yet. In comparison to Marni Raab I think her acting is better but I feel she lacked luster singing the very high notes. Our seats were up in rear mezz though, so it's possible the seating affected how I heard her sing. As I've said in prior entries I'm also not the best judge of singing/acting capabilities for cast members so I just say how I feel without giving an authoritative review. 

Matt with Hugh Panaro

My other note has to do with the actor who played the conductor during the Don Juan rehearsal. I am not sure who this actor was but during the rehearsal after Carlotta and Mme. Giry have their mini - tiff about Piangi's singing and if the phantom is possibly present at the rehearsal, this actor looked at the rehearsing cast and nervously said "so, so, so" before continuing. The whole audience laughed at that point, I don't recall seeing that done before during a performance and thought it was an excellent and humourous touch. 

Latest photo of myself and Mr. Hugh Panaro
Besides those two notes, my brother and I had a great time. I impressed him with my red scarf and extensive knowledge of the show's lines and Masquerade choreography...okay so maybe he wasn't impressed maybe he just shook his head in disbelief! After the show we bought some broadway cares memorabilia, my brother bought me the autographed cast poster, I bought a phantom aids pin and the carols for a cure CD. After the show I bought Matt more booze and we rode the train home remembering an awesome show and I drank a coffee in phantom's honor from my new phantom of the opera travel mug (which is a very cheap travel mug that's overly priced but I bought it anyway because it's a phantom travel mug!). 

Saluting the phantom performance with my mug and wearing my new phantom pin!