To the younger theatre goer - this is not your parents' "Phantom of the Opera". The newly reimagined production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that has opened at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre, is for a new generation. It still works wondrously with its haunting story, soaring melodies, dazzling costumes, and eye-filling special effects. But this Phantom has a darker soul and near fanatical obsession that leaves you disheartened rather than sympathetic. The final soulfull scene, which is staged in a completely different manner from the original, gives reason and understanding to the dilemma of choice the Phantom must make,
It is still the tale of a ghost who haunts the Paris Opera House and tutors a gorgeous young soprano. Why update a classic? Audiences want to be able to connect. The complexities of relationships have changed. They are staging techniques today that weren't available 25 years ago. And without and major changes to the story or the music, they've done a masterful job.
Cooper Grodin is a menacing Phantom; Julie Rose Udine, a lovely voiced Christine and Ben Jacoby is perfect as her suitor. I loved the new staging, especially the massive walls that take center stage and serve as a perfect way to descend into the Phantom's lair.
If you've wondered all these years why "Phantom of the Opera" has been crisscrossing the globe, watched and enjoyed by millions and shows no signs of slowing down, here's the perfect opportunity to find out. Or, if you're like me, whose now seen the show eight times and wondered how could they possibly improve it, get to the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 West Randolph and find out. The show will be here through March 2nd.
Filed under: Theatre Reviews