by Paula Citron
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s mega-musical The Phantom of the Opera is celebrating its 20th anniversary season. Counting the movie, this would be the fourth time I would see the musical, and to tell the truth, I had always found it overblown and pretentious.
That is why, and with some surprise, I can tell you that this production of Phantom literally jumps off the stage. In fact, dare I use the word “gripping” to describe its impact? There is real chemistry between the major players that is totally enthralling. John Cudia’s Phantom is sexy and passionate, Marni Raab’s Christine is fragile with bite, and mercifully, Michael Gillis is the first Raoul I’ve seen who transcends the level of nerdy wuss with a stage presence that is both strong and sensitive.
Who would have thought that 20 years later, I’d be drawn into the story lurking within the spectacular effects?
The Phantom of the Opera continues until Jun. 3.
From the Princess of Wales Theatre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.