I have experienced seeing Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and in Toronto and with various leads. Open the present Playbill for this recent show to view a two-page spread on Norm Lewis who had already retained the role of Inspector Javert in Les Miz. What is the hype? He is the first African-American to play the role of the Phantom. WHAT? WHO CARES?
Will that bring a larger black audience? Will bigoted people stay away? What truly counts is the performance and I’m sorry, but he is NOT a Hugh Panaro. Granted, if you are seeing the show for the first time, you will be quite satisfied with everything. In fact I went with someone who is above the age of 60 and has actually never seen a live performance of Phantom of the Opera. She loved it.
Norm sang and acted well. He just seems to miss it for me on the vocals. Sierra Boggess is now in the role of Christine. It is interesting to hear the difference in her high soprano vocals vs that of Carlotta portrayed by Michele McConnell. McConnell sounds more “opera” in tone (as her character would have it), while the excitement lies in how high Boggess’s voice will go.
Having seen a tv spot that focused on machines that can capture and change your singing voice I continued to watch as they talked about performers who might be singing in positions that may warrant a voice over or recording. It would appear that the performer is continually singing. What if they can’t hit the notes that evening or walking along a sort of scaffold…as in Christine and the Phantom? You’d still get the vocals but the performer is mouthing the words with his or her own voice. Just saying.
Playbill.com launched its 30 Days of Pride initiative June 1, profiling the dynamic voices of the LGBT community and pioneers of the stage. As part of the celebration, the company has switched its banner from the well-known yellow to rainbow. Will it be a Collector’s item like the opening performance?
Phantom of the Opera is being performed at the Majestic Theatre. Incidentally, if you haven’t heard, Love Never Dies is the sequel. I doubt that it will come to Broadway unless people get tired of seeing Phantom.