In case you aren’t heard, Andrew Lloyd Weber has released the 2011 25th anniversary of PotO on Netflix for one day. If you haven’t seen it, I HIGHLY recommend it! I hadn’t seen it in years and it’s just as fresh and wonderful as it was the first time I viewed it. A really powerful production. My only nitpick is that the size of the stage at the Royal Albert Hall didn’t allow for some of the great set pieces like the crashing of the chandelier, so that’s a little sad, but didn’t detract from the amazing singing and costumes. My god their voices! 😍
The encores at the very end were touching and also fabulous, so stay tuned for those performances!
It’s only on for a few more hours, so catch it if you can!
I've seen 2 different productions of this play - once in Detroit and once on Broadway in NYC. Both times were very memorable (but to my surprise the one in Detroit was far superior!). I love the music to this play.
"You're going into the water... short-arse!" - Sherlock
I was fortunate to see it when it first played in Toronto in 1989. I hadn’t planned to see it, but a friend of mine called to ask if I wanted an extra ticket she had. A group of her co-workers had booked tickets months in advance, but one fell ill a few days before the show and couldn’t go, so I gladly took her place! I knew nothing at all about it, and certainly no one knew that it would be playing for years. My seat was in the first row of the balcony, so that when I sat back I couldn’t see the audience below - I had only the stage in front of me. I was completely mesmerized by the show, and loved everything about it. My friend later bought the soundtrack and made a copy for me (on cassette!) that I listened to constantly in my car. I’m sure I still remember every word.
In the summer a few months later, my sister and I were spending a Saturday shopping in Toronto, right across the street from the theatre. We found a pay phone and called the box office to see if there were any tickets available for that day. They did have two seats for the matinee, but they weren’t together - they were both on the far left, in the first row and the fourth row. We took them! We weren’t going to talk during the show anyway. Since I had already seen it, I offered to take the first row seat because you couldn’t see the other side of the stage from there. My sister and I chatted during intermission and then I returned to my seat. She loved the show, too.
One advantage to my far-left front-row seat was that I was so close to the stage that I could see the actors spitting. Ha! Also, much of the action took place on the left, fortunately. I could also lean forward and look down into the orchestra pit. I remember seeing the word “Overture” on the sheet music, and I later learned what that meant. By coincidence, “overture” was an answer on Jeopardy last week - and I knew it from seeing Phantom more than 30 years ago!
My mum happened to be in London and picked up a day of the show ticket for it during the initial run, so she got to see Michael Crawford & Sarah Brightman. I was never so jealous in my life, haha! I saw it in Denver years ago - a really terrific production! It may be, imo, the greatest musical ever written. 😍
I watched it, and it was wonderful! I might watch it again before they remove it. The staging is different from the production I saw because I agree that this stage is much smaller. But still, it all came back to me! I had almost forgotten how sad it was, and how I was hoping for a happy ending for the Phantom. I always think back to this story as a great example of how to make a villain sympathetic. Yes, he’s a deranged murderer, but you still feel so sorry for him.
It was nice seeing Michael Crawford at the end. I’ve seen clips of him as the Phantom, but I would love to have seen him perform in person. There is an interview he did with Johnny Carson years ago. He was on the show to promote Phantom, and it was one of the funniest interviews I’ve ever seen. I’ve been searching for it online, but I guess no one has ever posted it. I remember that he was hilarious describing the mishaps he had encountered in the Phantom performances. It seemed so odd to me that this very funny man was playing such a serious role.
Colm Wilkinson played the Phantom in the Toronto production I saw, so it was nice seeing him with the other Phantoms in this video!
I’ve also just remembered that I bought myself a souvenir of the show the second time I saw it. I bought a large beach towel - black velvet, with The Phantom of the Opera sewn onto it, along with the mask. (I did the same thing when I saw Beauty and the Beast on Broadway - I bought a beach towel as a souvenir). I think I was trying to be practical in buying something useful. By the time I saw Joseph, I started buying a watch as a souvenir. It was still practical, and I could wear it anytime I wanted.
I still have the towel, and I still have the plastic Phantom bag they put it in. I now store my “portfolio” in it - the albums with photos of my artwork.