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.