Review by Lauryn Angel
The Phantom of the Opera made its debut thirty years ago, and though I’ve been a fan of the musical almost that long, I had not seen it on stage until its stop at Dallas Summer Musicals for the 2018-2019 season. And it knocked my socks off!
This production has a custom chandelier that weighs 3000 pounds and features over 30,000 beads. The ceiling of Fair Park Music Hall had to be specially reinforced to support this important prop, which is valued over $1 million and takes a day-and-a-half to install at each stop on the tour. Make sure to look up, as it’s a work of art in itself, as well as an important plot device.
The production also features several costumes from the original production of Phantom of the Opera, including the Phantom’s cape and Christine Daaé’s “Don Juan Triumphant” costume. (And that particular costume weighs over 40 pounds!)
This production pays attention to the intricate details, so it’s not surprising that the result is phenomenal musical theater. Stars Quentin Oliver Lee as the Phantom and Eva Tavares as Christine were flawless at the performance I attended. This is no easy feat, as Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote the role of Christine for soprano Sarah Brightman, who has an amazing vocal range. Tavares tackles the vocals with sprezzatura, turning the vocal gymnastics into a cake walk. Lee is just as perfect as the Phantom – tall, mysterious, and imposing.
The marvelous sets complete the spectacle. A large portion of story takes place on the stage of the Paris opera house, with theater boxes on each side of the stage, in which characters such as Raul (Jordan Craig) and theater managers Monsieur Firmin (David Benoit) and Monsieur André (Rob Lindley) become observers as well. But several of the other scenes are built around a large cylindrical set piece that turns to become the backstage area, with a staircase that emerges from the wall on command. The same set piece cleverly folds open to reveal the managers’ office.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan who has seen The Phantom of the Opera too many times to count, or you’ve never experienced it and are mildly curious, this production is not to be missed.