After 25 Years, Phantom Still Astounds; Gala Anniversary Performance Filled With Surprises

By Adam Hetrick
27 Jan 2013

Hugh Panaro
Photo by Monica Simoes

In addition, Kyle Barisich, as Christine's paramour Raoul, was an ideal match for Boggess during the Act One duet "All I Ask of You" providing a burnished baritone.

The current Broadway cast is also studded with many new company members who are clearly relishing their stage time and bringing fresh perspective to their memorable roles. Standouts include McConnell as Carlotta (whose vocals on during "Poor Fool He Makes Me Laugh" and "Prima Donna" were sublime), a commanding Ellen Harvey as Madame Giry and Jim Weitzer, who provides tempered comic relief as Monsieur André.

The production itself is in exquisite shape thanks to a dedicated resident staff and members of the original creative team who return regularly to ensure that Phantom continues to glimmer for new audiences and longtime fans. For those who haven't ventured back to Phantom since it premiered, or for the handful of theatregoers who have somehow escaped seeing it, now truly is the time. A new sound system, installed in the Majestic several years ago, gives the score and singers their due. In addition, Phantom's orchestra has become a rarity in the current model of commercial theatre: it boasts 28 musicians, something director Prince is proud of to this day.

Gala attendees enjoyed the rare treat of having musical supervisor David Caddick, who first conducted Phantom's opening night on Broadway, holding the baton for the 25th anniversary milestone performance. Caddick and the orchestra gave Lloyd Webber's score and Caddick's layered orchestrations a finely polished presentation.

The production's lighting (by Tony winner Andrew Bridge), which was re-focused and fine-tuned in preparation for the gala, showcased the portrait-like stage pictures created by Prince in warm, golden hues that recall the Victorian era of gas-lit stages. The detailed work of Phantom's late Tony-winning costume and scenic designer Maria Bjornson also appeared to gleam anew.