[9 of 10 customers found this review helpful]
A must see!!
By Christine from PR, CA on 2/22/2009
Audience Loved It, Brilliant Acting, Engaging Plot, Fantastic Music, Great Costumes, Great Lighting/Effects, Great Set Design, Very Funny
Difficult To Hear
Casual Theater-Goers, Fans Of Serious Theater Only, Out-Of-Towners, Special Occasions
After seeing this last night at the Pantages Theater in LA, I love this play even more now. This is my favorite play of all time. With that said, I had high expectations for this cast, especially since it was the last showing for the LA area.
The storyline is The Phantom of the Opera. I only have the movies of this play to compare it to. And according to that, the play's plot was side by side with the latest The Phantom of the Opera movie. The scenes flowed well and there didn't seem anything to be lacking.
The set was amazing...costumes, props, everything was strategically placed. Guns, fire, and gun powder were used cleverly. And the colors were so vibrant. The orchestra and music was beautiful. They were spot on! And being seated dead center, row L in the orchestra section, made it even much more better. I could feel every bang, especially when there were magic bombs. Oh, and the heat from the flames was quite toasty.
The cast was awesome. Each character's personality was played exactly. I adored Christine (Trista Moldovan); they could not have picked a better person. Raoul (Sean MacLaughlin) was amazing; very powerful voice and also quite charming. Carlotta (Kim Stengel), though I have nothing against her, made me dislike her even more. She was spot on with the annoying nature of Carlotta. And of course, Phantom (John Cudia)...his voice transcended through the walls of the theater. His voice definitely had me in a trance. He played Phantom very very well. I ended up liking him and rooting for him throughout the play, and even at the end, I felt sorry for him that it made me tear. An actor who can bring out a variety of emotions from his audience deserves accolades.
The only quirk I had was when Firmin, Andre, Raoul, Carlotta, Piangi, Meg, Madame Giry did the scene to "Notes/Prima Donna"; as well as when the same characters including Christine did the scene to "Notes/Twisted Every Way"; it was a bit hard to understand what each cast member was singing about. I understand they were supposed to overlap, however, it just ended up jumbled up instead of having the audience understand what the scene was about. Perhaps better mic controls on simultaneously making a cast member's part louder and the others' softer when it would switch from character to character.
Otherwise, I definitely want to see this play again! One thing about the Pantages Theater: it gets pretty chilly/cold inside, so bring a coverup. Other than that, enjoy!