Phantom Bows Out with Final Performance on Halloween
October 7, 2010 - By Annemarie Donkin
The final touring production of The Phantom of the Opera opened Sept. 25 for a five-week run at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.
As the longest and most successful show in history, the Phantoms spell remains as potent as ever and after being seen by more than 100 million people and earning $1.5 billion, the tour will take its final bow on
Tim Martin Gleason as The Phantom, mesmerizes Trista Moldovan in the role of Christine in the final run at The Pantages Theater.
Halloween night, October 31, in Hollywood. Seriously get your tickets now.
After nearly 18 years on the road, as road weary as the Music Box touring company production could be, the opening night performance on Sept. 25 blazed with enough energy and bright young talent to light up the stage.
The Phantom of the Opera, stars Tim Martin Gleason as The Phantom, with Trista Moldovan as the young soprano, Christine and Sean MacLaughlin as Raoul.
The seductive and addictive rock opera feeds us emotionally with a musical language we easily understand. We fall in love all over again with Christine and Raoul as they sing, All I Want from You. And who doesnt get a thrill as the spine-tingling chords as the pipe organ pounds in your heart when the Phantom and Christine sing The Phantom of the Opera.
Tim Martin Gleason was a revelation as The Phantom. After playing Raoul more than 2,600 times, he has taken over the starring role. He hits the high notes so perfectly that it just breaks your heart. Then, with his rough, yet erotic voice, Gleason digs deeper to allow us to feel the depth of his pain and passion for Christine. This Phantom has blood in his veins.
At the end, one is left drenched and exhausted from an emotional roller coaster ride; the show proves the overwhelming power of live theater and makes you feel something.
I had the distinct pleasure of attending opening night with Topanga resident and friend of the Messenger, Stephanie Reagan. She and I enjoyed a lovely, pre-show dinner across the street at Delphine; then pushed through the throng of the star-studded red carpet opening night festivities.
By the end of the performance, we were both emotionally wrung out and weepy and agreed the show was just awesome. This production was a revelation for me; I had seen the original touring company at the Ahmanson 15 years ago a bloated, confusing mess that needed cutting by about 45 minutes.
As an Andrew Lloyd Weber aficionado, Stephanie had seen it many times, most recently in Toronto. But we agreed the current production is fabulous and sparkles and glitters with such new life one can easily understand its addictive qualities.
Indeed, years on the road has considerably shortened the show and polished it into a fine jewel. Some people have reportedly seen Phantom more than 800 times which says something about the emotional void it fills in each of us. Indeed, it is repeat business that has kept the company on the road for 18 years and playing on Broadway and Vegas indefinitely.
The three U.S. national tours have grossed more than $1.5 billion in combined box office sales. When the Music Box Company closes, the three touring companies will have played 216 engagements in 77 cities for an unprecedented combined total of 36 years and 14,500 performances.
Another milestone this tour will mark the end of Kim Stengels run as the temperamental diva, Carlotta Giudicelli. With more than 5,000 performances in 16 years, Stengel is the longest running Carlotta worldwide, appearing on Broadway and the U.S., Canada and Asia, including the Toronto Company in its final performance with KISS rocker Paul Stanley as the Phantom.
Stengel spoke recently about the end of her 16-year career with the Phantom.
It will be especially bittersweet when I sing my final, Think of Me, she said wistfully. I will have to go back to New York and start all over again.
Being the trooper that she is, Stengel will leave L.A. after closing night and head straight to Texas to visit her parents and her daughter, Kendra. But being out of work doesnt bother Stengel. In very un-diva like fashion, while in L.A, she is training for a marathon. And this fall, she co-stars with Daniel Craig in the motion-capture animated feature, The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn with director Steven Spielberg.
Indeed, this Phantom is so seductive and compelling, that though you may have seen it many times before, you will really want to see it before the final curtain. The voices throughout are crisp and confident; the production is fresh, energetic and breathes with new life.
Phantom will definitely go out on a high note. Tickets for closing night range from $50 to $250 so purchase them now before it sells out. Fall in love again, close your eyes and surrender to the music of the night.
The Phantom of the Opera, features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is directed by Harold Prince. Tickets are available at www.BroadwayLA.org or by calling (800) 982- 2787, as well as at the Pantages Box Office (6233 Hollywood Blvd.) and all Ticketmaster Outlets. Performances are Tue-Fri at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 1 and 6:30 p.m. The Music Box Company will play its final performance on Halloween night, Sunday October 31.