THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 1 - Cooper Grodin and Julia Udine - photo by Matthew Murphy-5135
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA  – Cooper Grodin and Julia Udine – photo by Matthew Murphy

After long-last, the Phantom of the Opera has arrived in Atlanta! This Broadway in Atlanta series has turned out to be a real treat thus far. Not only is Phantom the longest running show on Broadway (still grossing $1 million a week) but its popularity has never staggered since its debut in 1986 in London. We are fortunate, as the original Andrew Lloyd Webber classic is based in New York, we get to experience a new adaptation by Cameron Mackintosh.

Both Phantom enthusiasts and first-timers alike will be able to enjoy this wonderful stage production. For starters, this may be the best Christine Daaé you’ll see in a Phantom adaptation. Julia Udine produced quality, showed stage presence, her look was spot on with the original, and her singing was beautiful. Ben Jacoby stood out for his part as Raoul,  normally a not so masculine character who completely gets the shaft by Christine for the manly, sultry-voiced Phantom. But this Raoul was no loser, he was manly, had a strong voice, and hair on his chest. Phantom first-timers are in for a great treat with Christine and Raoul, and should also take note of Ubaldo Piangi, played by Frank Viveros. A character of many colors, Piangi stands as a strong supporter of Carlotta and brings laughter to the audience in numerous performances.

The Company performs Masquerade - photo by Alastair Muir
The Company performs Masquerade – photo by Alastair Muir

For the singing as a whole, the group did exceptionally well. A Phantom performance is usually judged by the following songs: Hannibal, Masquerade, and one could argue All I Ask of You and Phantom of the Opera. All were excellent in this production. The orchestra was under the direction of Richard Carsey, and after Friday, every orchestra should be under the direction of Richard Carsey. That orchestra blew the lid off the place! They have an extremely important role providing music that: leads the scene, that is the focal point of the scene, background music to support the singing on stage, and acts as “filler” in between singing (when actors are dancing or moving stage parts, then go right back into singing).

When attending a show, you’ll notice the warning they give before curtain call explaining the use of strobe lights and live gunfire. The likes of live guns may be a Phantom first but it was appropriate for a production of this type. The Stage setup, pyrotechnics, and the special effects will leave you in awe throughout the performance. Be sure to take notice of the steps to the Phantom’s lair, the elephant in the Hannibal performance, and the iconic Chandelier.

We can happily give Cameron Mackintosh’s Production of Phantom of the Opera an 8.5 out of 10. Just being at such a production comes with a special feeling that’s hard to describe. While in attendance be sure to get a playbill and find the Phantom of the Opera stop-and-repeat backdrop. It’s a wonderful photo-op and if you want to avoid a line, find it before curtain call or during intermission.

Phantom of the Opera- A collector’s piece….. Indeed.


-Jon J.

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