If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, and in a family that encouraged an interest in the theatre, you probably saw The Phantom of the Opera. We both did, several times, and when we heard there was a new tour of it coming to SHN’s Orpheum Theater we were interested to see how it aged. Could it still be as mind-blowingly cool as we remembered? Or, does Andrew Lloyd Webber actually suck, as we’ve been told as adults, although we secretly refuse to believe it. What better way to confront the realities of our youth than a night of Drama Talk and Drinks?
Brittany: Man, Phantom of the Opera…
Katie: It’s so different from what I remember as a kid.
B: It was beautiful, and an amazing spectacle, but it’s sooo creepy. Was it always that creepy?
K: I don’t remember it being that creepy.
B: Maybe as a kid I didn’t get all the weird sexual undertones the Phantom is giving off, but he’s a spooky dude. He was a stalker, kidnapper, murderer, and although it didn’t happen on stage, I’m pretty sure a rapist. Or at least aspirationally a rapist.
K: Yeah, he had a really unhealthy obsession with Christine.
B: I thought he was just a scary looking guy, not a maniac.
K: Yeah, I remember him being misunderstood. In my childhood memory he was just an abused kid, who wanted to make music, and to be accepted for who he was. I don’t remember him being so sick and abusive.
B: Yeah, in the last scene the way he pinned her to the bed was really violent. Like there should have been trigger warnings. No means no.
K: Seriously, no means no, Phantom. But even though the story was way darker than I remember, the crazy sets, and flashy costumes, the pyrotechnics, and falling chandeliers made it an amazingly enjoyable time. Maybe even a better time than I thought it would be. Even though it was lots of song and dance and musical theatre-ness, the story was kind of dysfunctional, which I like.
B: It’s still Phantom, the music is the same, it just felt a little different watching it as an adult.
K: Yeah, I was super entertained, just oddly uncomfortable.
The Verdict: This tour is as good as The Phantom of the Opera can be, although maybe slightly creepier than you remember it as a child. It’s got all the flash, fog, and fabulous costumes you expect from a Broadway tour, and a formidable cast that can really make the complexities in the score shine. As long as you like this play, or at the very least like big blockbuster musicals, you’ll enjoy this.
The Drama Talk: If you’re a child of 80s musical theater, you probably grew up on Phantom, and know if you can tolerate another Andrew Lloyd Webber show or not. If you can, this show will not disappoint. After all these years it still kept us engaged and awed with it’s impressive spectacle. If you don’t know The Phantom of The Opera, a word of caution, it is named that for a reason, it’s kind of Opera-y. Be prepared for some trills and most of the show being sung. If that doesn’t scare you away, you’ll probably have a great time, but you really do need to be okay with operatic musicals to enjoy this classic.
The Drinks: Always looking for new bars nearish the theater, we decided to check out Forgery, a fancy cocktail bar that opened a couple months ago on Mission. Brittany got the Delicious Sour, and Katie got a Cool Runnings, and we toasted to a creepy night of revisiting childhood favorites.
The Phantom of the Opera runs through October 4th at SHN’s Orpheum Theater. Tickets can be purchased directly through their website, but if you’re looking for a deal they do have a Rush for this show as well. A limited number of $40 tickets are available beginning 2 hours prior to curtain at the SHN Orpheum Theatre Box Office- cash only – 2 per-person. Goldstar also currently has a few performances available at $75/seat.