‘Phantom’ flashes, dazzles with new staging to timeless long-run musical

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THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 2 - Derrick Davis and Katie Travis - photo Matthew MurphyBroadway Across America and Theatre League with Phantom of the Opera Nation

Get your tickets while some remain for the Broadway Across America and Theatre League’s national road tour of the legendary “Phantom of the Opera,” the mega-Broadway hit that continue to bring audiences to their feet from its opening in 1988 through today (over 12,000 Broadway performances and still running).

The Andrew Lloyd Webber operatic and tragic love story of the opera ghost who falls madly in love with his student Christine Daae. However, Christine, though she recognizes the help and guidance of her teacher does not feel likewise enamored with him; her heart belongs to Raoul. The love triangle develops quickly in the story and propels the story with twists and turns as the Phantom works tirelessly to develop Christine’s vocal expertise and make her the quintessential star of the Paris opera. Christine falls under the trance of her teacher as well as the emotional yearnings of her true love. The story plays out against the evil antics of the OG (opera ghost) and his obsession with Christine and her career.

For this traveling show, expect to hear vocals and performances well-suited for the Broadway stage. Any or all of these majestic actors could step into the Broadway spotlight and not a note would be off. Their fine-tuned vocals and superb acting equals the best Broadway offers. The tour is led by Derrick Davis who’s vocals as The Phantom are astoundingly crisp, clear, and forceful. His softer tones elicit the pain and discontent of his life without love and affection. As his love interest, Christine, Katie Travis excels. Her voice is light, airy, yet strong and crystal clear in her high notes. Travis’ voice remains on par with original Christine Sarah Brightman. As the third side of the triangle, Raoul, portrayed by Jordan Craig provides a beautifully voiced performance that enhances the two other principals. His duet with Travis can send chills. His performance is strong and equally powerful.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 4 - The Company performs Masquerade - photo by Alastair MuirBroadway Across America and Theatre League with Phantom of the Opera National Tour

To support the three leads, the second leads also offered up some exquisite voices and added the flourishes of comedy the show needs to keep it light and entertaining. As the aging diva with attitude, Trista Moldovan sashayed with authority and teased with her version of Carlotta. David Folley Jr. and Mark Emerson served up strong stage presence in their limited roles. Both were strong performers. Those and more added the depth and humor to the story. But give the entire cast credit for a superb performance.

Sets for this re-envisioned production stood out from the opening scenes. Sets, designed by Paul Brown elevated this production to new heights. A revolving cylinder opened to new and creative movements for the principals and gave more darkness and tone to the Phantom’s underground lair. The set movement and openings provided so much more drama and setting to the play that it remains hard to recall the original set. This set if opulent, well-designed, and creates better opportunity to tell the Phantom’s story.

Added technical pieces of flash pots, sparks, and magical displays, again propel this production to sublime. The sets, the special effects, the projections, the tricks, the costumes–all added to the enjoyment of the production.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 5 - The Company performs Hannibal - photo by Matthew Murphy (1)Broadway Across America and Theatre League with Phantom of the Opera National Tour

Many times in a production, one will see persons visiting with neighbors, fidgeting in seats, general movement and noise, but when the lights dimmed for the show to commence, the audience sat spell-bound and riveted. No conversation. No fidgeting. No restlessness. Nothing moved. The audience was transfixed from Act I to intermission. From the start of Act II, again, nothing moved until the final notes as the audience prepared to explode in applause and quickly rise to a standing ovation. And, a very well-deserved standing ovation. “The Phantom of the Opera” delivers on the promise of a wonderful theatrical event. The mood of the audience was high excitement as they talked and discussed the show all the way down the stairs to the parking lot. Not a note of discord could be heard. The show totally overwhelmed.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 10 - Anne Kanengeiser - photo Matthew MurphyBroadway Across America and Theatre League with Phantom of the Opera National Tour

Take my advice, if you only catch one of these large road shows traveling through Kansas City, see this one. You will not be disappointed. Tickets, though limited, can be purchased through the Theatre League box office. Check their website for dates, times, tickets, and more.

Tags: Phantom of the Opera, Broadway Across America, Theater League, Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City, Music Hall

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