Broadway's longest-running show, "The Phantom of the Opera", recently marked its 25th anniversary on the Great White Way. So how does the show hold up after all these years? NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
Twenty-five years is ancient by Broadway standards, and shows much younger than that often start to show their age with stale performances and fraying sets. But not so The Phantom. I last visited the mega-musical seven years ago, when it officially became the longest-running Broadway show of all time, and it looked great then. Hard to believe but despite its advanced age, The Phantom has yet to show a wrinkle.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's most successful musical is a brilliantly conceived anomaly of richly melodic pop music and operatic strains. And yes, it's bloated and derivative, but it's also undeniably captivating.
The late Maria Bjornson deserves equal credit for her sumptuous production design, featuring those wild gothic sets and gorgeous period-perfect costumes. And as directed by Harold Prince, it's a collaboration for the ages.
Fortunately, the folks in charge of quality control have been on their toes all these years. Casting is key and there's not a false note in the bunch. Hard to believe Michele McConnell as the opera diva Carlotta is making her Broadway debut. She is divinely grandiose. Hugh Panaro, who's logged more than 1,800 performances as the Phantom over the years, deserves high praise for keeping it fresh and exciting. And a huge bravo to Sierra Boggess as Christine Daae. With less than a week in the challenging role, she was very much at home musically. Paired with Panaro and the excellent Kyle Barisich as Raoul, those sparks flying during the romantic scenes weren't all special effects.
Thanks to its newly invigorated company, Phantom's magic lives on.