Monday, March 22, 2010

The Phoenix of the Opera

Just finished reading The Phoenix of the Opera by Sadie Montgomery. This is the first book in what now appears to be a five part book series by Ms. Montgomery. The book is great, most definitely worth the read.

At first the book might be slightly confusing, as Sadie Montgomery inserts italicized sections of text representative of a character's thoughts. But this also adds more depth to the novel, peering into thoughts can be very interesting.

I also respect the author, as she could have gone in the direction of most phans, and made it possible for Christine and Erik to be together. However she did not, but she created a livable alternative for Erik. He ends up with Meg, he does have a love for her, but it will never be like his love for Christine.

To my dismay Christine ends up with Raoul. Some may argue that Christine and Raoul were always destined for each other, this may be true, at times I have been angry with her and felt she could never appreciate Erik, but it's still gross to read about anyone who could love Raoul. He has almost no dimension, but Ms. Montgomery gives her Raoul compassion towards Erik and they almost end up as close as brothers could be. This is better then the drunk he's turned out to be in LND (Thanks ALW!)

Overall I appreciate the direction Ms. Montgomery has taken in the path to continuing the phantom's story after the incidents at the Opera House, as well the explanation she gives for some of his actions, one such explanation will help me when I argue with people over the death of Joseph Buquet.

If you're interested in purchasing this book it's available for sale through amazon.

My first time at POTO

I haven't written in quite some time, I was waiting to finish a phan book to review it, but I have the need to write. So I will cover my first time at Phantom of the Opera. Eventually I hope to recount each of the performances I have went to, as well as future performances.

So here's the official date that the magic happened, June 8, 1994. I was 11 years old. My elementary school used to arrange field trips to a Broadway musical for the graduating class going on into middle school. 1994 I was part of the sixth grade graduation trip and the school picked the phantom of the opera! My mom was there, they asked her to be one of the parent chaperons.

I was so excited to see the phantom. It was my first Broadway musical and I was already in love with the soundtrack. A friend of my mother's from church lent me her cassette tapes, and I listened to both tapes daily, so I knew all of the music already.

The morning of the trip everyone boarded buses to be in the city for a 2 PM show. Our first stop was South Street Seaport, next the phantom. We arrived at the theatre and I was beyond excited. I took a seat with my fellow students eager for the show to start. The show started, Jeff Keller was the phantom that day, when I did some research and took some information from the phantom message boards, Jeff Keller was not the normal phantom during that time, so he had to have been an understudy or covering for a phantom that was on vacation. Tracy Shayne played the role of Christine. I was in awe the whole performance. I found it to be so amazing! The music was beautiful I was mouthing every word because I knew it by heart. The scenery and costumes were terrific. And I loved the phantom more then anything, he mesmerized me, I was under his spell so much more then Christine would ever be.

I rode the bus ride home in awe of this show and vowed that I had to go back again. My second time would not be for a few years, little did I know that this first performance would be the start of everything! That it would trigger a 16 year one-sided relationship with a fictional character that I sometimes view as my one true love. That I would spend about three years of this time thinking of nothing but phantom, talking about nothing but phantom, driving my friends and family crazy. That at one point, I was considering phantom as a possible religion! That many of my school projects would be based on phantom. That I would go through spurts, and sometimes it might be a year before I saw the show again, sometimes I would see performances two weeks apart. That I would collect so much memorabilia, and still look forward to collecting more!

That date, the date of my first performance is my phanniversary! This upcoming June I will be an phan for 16 years, more then half my life at this point. That was the date that started it all for me, that triggered this passion, this love for the story inside of me! The phantom of the opera will always be my favorite story ever, I have encountered many stories throughout my lifetime that I have loved, but the phantom will forever be my favorite!

Friday, March 12, 2010

More LND news

I promise this will not turn into an LND blog, although most of the news that I'm finding out to share has to do with LND. One of my friends just sent me a review from

playbill review

Thursday, March 11, 2010

March's sexy phantom

I am going to try to name a sexy phantom, particularly one I might be lusting after once every month. It will also be a lighter, positive addition to this blog, being that right now I am upset about LND. So this month's sexy phantom for March 2010 is Ramin Karimloo. He is currently playing the phantom in LND, and has played the lead role in the original production at Her Majesty's in London. So without further ado, let's lust away, at the following picture of Ramin in MOTN gear!

*** Thanks to Jeanette today (10/2/10) I've added something very special to this entry - a picture of Ramin almost naked - enjoy!!!

Some more Love Never Dies Reviews

Here are some more reviews from Love Never Dies. All four came from facebook friends, two I don't have a source or link for, so I will just copy and paste those reviews, they were sent to me via private facebook message, through copy and paste.

June 2008 NY post review

West End Whingers review

First review - copy and pasted unsure of source
Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber has a lot to live up to. A new musical of merit has been a long time in coming from the man whose credits read like the history of musical theatre.

Webber holds the record for the longest-running musical on Broadway with "Phantom of the Opera," but he may be better known to younger musical fans as the king of musical reality TV, where he's been in the judge's chair dishing out praise and scorn to would-be theater stars.

"Phantom" Unmasks Record

Tuesday night in London, however, was Webber's his much-hyped return to the traditional stage. I joined hundreds of other eager theater fans for the premier of Phantom sequel, "Love Never Dies" in London's West End.

Love Never Dies picks up the Phantom's story 10 years on from where Webber's epic left off - despite the passing of 25 years in non-theater time. The action moves to Coney Island from the great Parisian Opera house.

Now I am not one of them, but some cynics might suggest this was a clever plot relocation, given that most of Webber's diehard fans are in the U.S., but the lack of that Parisian backdrop doesn't detract from what is no doubt the director and composer's greatest success to date.

Love Never Dies sees Christine, the love interest in Phantom's legendary love triangle, invited anonymously by the masked-man to sing once more, with Raoul their child in tow.

A lot is riding on this continuation of a love story, which has been in the making for more than 15 years.

"I find all my musicals very personal," Lord Webber told me. "They are like children and, yes, I do worry and fret about every single detail, but it's because I care so much."

The show is set to become a permanent fixture at London's Adelphi Theater, at least for our lifetimes.

Tuesday night, the Adelphi was packed with A-listers; Theater maven Elaine Paige, original "Christine" Sarah Brightman (also the ex-Mrs. Webber), various members of Britain's royal family, and just about every reality and musical theater actor that Lord Webber has discovered.

They clapped and screamed with delight as each luscious scene unfolded.

The sweeping music clearly shows Webber's devotion to his musical hero, Puccini. It consumes the audience and has them captivated by the time the new theme song, a glorious balled called "Till I Hear You Sing Again," begins. I'll be surprised if the tune doesn't go as big, if not bigger, than the Phantom theme, "Music of the Night".

The composition cements the fact that this genus of musicals has lost none of his magic touch.

Another stand-out musical moment is the thrilling "Coney Island Waltz," which sticks in your head like a Lady Gaga riff.

Critics were blogging away with their verdicts within minutes of the final curtain going down at the Adelphi, and despite the audience's enthusiastic reception, many panned the sequel.

But Lord Webber told me the critics are not his primary concern.

"As a child, I went along to see The Sound of Music, and while the critics were less than kind about the glorious Rogers and Hammerstein score, I could find no fault. You see, the public is the critic, and that show ran for years, becoming iconic," he laughed.

"All I ask is that you enjoy it," the theater icon told me.

By the end of the night, when Lord Webber himself joined the cast onstage for a final bow, everyone in the theater was reassured that the multi-million dollar production was worth every penny.

Even Lord Webber, who is forever shy and unsure of his own work, must have felt the real wave of love for his latest production. It would appear that his fans' love, at least, never dies.

Second review - copy and pasted unsure of source
Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies has received lukewarm reviews, with some critics doubtful the long-awaited sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera will prove as successful as the original.

Writing in The Daily Mail, Quentin Letts declared: "A hit? Not quite."

Charles Spencer, in The Daily Telegraph, described the musical as "Lloyd Webber's finest show since the original Phantom".

But, given the popularity of recent musical comedies such as Hairspray, Sister Act and Legally Blonde, he wondered whether audiences would fork out for "two-and-a-half hours of dark Gothic imaginings, seething passion, and in the final scene, sudden, violent death".

Letts writes off the musical's opening as "stodgy", complaining it did not really "smoke into life" until 20 minutes in - and even then it "sputters for a while". He said the first scene was memorable only for its "expensive backdrop" of New York's Coney Island with its white-knuckle fairground rides, dancing girls and a "horror-movie-style lair for the Phantom".

He went on: "The night ends with a death scene so long that it may only reignite the euthanasia debate."

Letts also pointed to a "lack of solid story-telling" - a sentiment echoed by other critics.

Michael Billington in The Guardian said: "What the show lacks, in a nutshell, is narrative tension", while Benedict Nightingale, in The Times, asked: "So where's the tension in Ben Elton and Lloyd Webber's book?"

Awarding the show three out of five, Billington wrote: "The score is one of the composer's most seductive. Bob Crowley's design and Jack O'Brien's direction have a beautiful kaleidoscopic fluidity."

However, Nightingale, who gave the musical two out of five, said the title song had "pretty clunky" lyrics.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Love Never Dies - pros and cons

I'm not sure if I'm completely correct, but from what I can gather from the soundtrack to the phantom sequel last night, Erik and Christine end up together for about two seconds before Meg goes mad and shoots Christine. Christine gets shot and killed in the Phantom of Manhattan as well. It makes no sense to me, I guess that it would be done to create some action, but in my opinion it's a poor choice on the writer's part to have Christine die just for some action.

I was ranting to my sister and one friend last night after hearing the soundtrack, my sister asked a perfectly good question that I'm sure many phans are asking. Why did ALW make a sequel anyway? Personally I think the original musical makes enough money, I am pretty sure ALW did it for monetary reasons only. So far to me this sequel seems half @ss, yet I will go see it and I have already purchased the soundtrack, so he has gotten the main thing he wanted when he wrote the sequel which in my opinion is money. I don't understand it, there are many other people like me out there, who love the phantom so much, I have gone to see the show 4o times, and I have bought so many friends, family members, and ex-boyfriends with me. I don't know how many people have gone to see phantom with me, that would not have ever gone if they didn't meet me, so if there are other people out there like me (and I know that there are) we can still bring people into the original musical, we can still keep the original musical alive, so there was no need for this sequel that may very well be a piece of c*ap.

There are two positive aspects I can think of regarding the sequel. Number one Christine and Erik do sort of end up together (even if it's only for about two minutes), number two this is finally a chance for myself and other phans to witness the birth of a phantom incarnation and follow it. I don't know about other phans but I didn't become a phan until the show was already on Broadway for 6 years, I didn't get to see Michael Crawford or Sarah Brightman perform the principal roles, I didn't get to peruse the newspaper articles about the show right away when they came out, this show gives me a chance to do that, at least I get to be there from the beginning.

Here's a review for Love Never Dies published in today's New York Times
Love Never Dies Review - March 10, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Love Never Dies Soundtrack Review

Andrew Lloyd Webber, much to my dismay has decided to create a sequel to Phantom of the Opera. The sequel has already opened in London , it premiered today actually. It is scheduled to hit Broadway in November, I plan to see it, I have to as a phantom phan so I can give a review and get a feel for it. I'm not sure if I am going to like it though. It's based on the book Phantom of Manhattan by Frederick Forsyth, the book was absolutely awful and somewhat far fetched. It's utterly impossible to create a sequel being Erik dies in the original novel by Gaston Leroux. It is possible to create a sequel from Webber's musical because the phantom just disappears at the end and there is no explanation as to what happened to him.

I received the soundtrack in the mail today, I pre-ordered it from amazon. Some of the instrumental music from the soundtrack is amazing. The instrumental can be haunting, and can also put you under a spell. However the lyrics are weak to me, and the song titles could be more creative. One of the things that pleases me about the soundtrack is that Raoul seems like a jerk, that makes me happy because I hate him. Ramin Karimloo sounds like he is a pretty amazing phantom, he has played the phantom in London, before he was hired to play the phantom in the sequel. Sierra Boggess seems like she will make a good Christine, she played Christine in Las Vegas for Phantom at the Venetian. I feel like the other actors leave something to be desired with their characters from listening to the soundtrack. I'm hoping Sierra and Ramin will be here in New York to premiere the sequel.

Here is the link to the official website for anyone who wishes to check out the sequel further
love never dies official website

I will also update as I learn more about the sequel

If you are interested in purchasing the LND soundtrack here are some links to purchase the soundtracks through amazon

Brief overview of the story!

The main gist of the story is that it is a love triangle between three of the characters. The Phantom (whose name is Erik, as you will learn if you read the book by Gaston Leroux), Christine and Raoul. Erik loves Christine and teaches her how to sing, Raoul is a wealthy aristocrat who is also in love with Christine (as well as Christine's childhood friend). Christine is in love with both men and can't decide who she should be with.

The setting of the story takes place in the Paris Opera house, employees of the Opera house believe that there is a Phantom haunting the opera, in reality The Phantom is Erik, a genius disfigured at birth who lives in the lowest level of the Opera house, Erik uses trickery and illusions to seem like a ghost.

The time period of the story is in the late 1800s.

I love Phantom of the Opera!

I am a die hard Phantom of the Opera PHanatic! I will be a phan for 16 years this year in June! I have seen the Broadway musical 4o times so far, have a large collection of Phantom of the Opera memorabilia, have read tons of Phan fiction (Phantom of the Opera stories written by Phans), have read many books based on the subject, have seen many versions of the movie available, and have been crazy in general for this story!

The creation of this blog is due to inspiration from a book I am now reading written by a METs fan (on a side note, I am also a METs fan). The book is titled The Last Days of Shea by Dana Brand. The author is a METs fan, he has written two books about being a METs fan and he has a blog as well. I figured if he can write about being a METs fan, I can most certainly devote a blog to Phantom.

I hope to write about each of the times I attended the Broadway musical, write about my thoughts on the Phantom, write about some of my memorabilia, review some books about the Phantom of the Opera, as well as covering much more with this blog. If I decide to write my book this blog will also help serve as notes for the book.