‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is entertainment fulfillment

COSTA MESA, CA (News4usonline) – There is a reason why The Phantom of the Opera is the longest-running musical on Broadway. The intrigue of a deformed musician obsessed with the beauty and vocal talents of a young star interloping with romantic overtures created a production shrouded in mystery that leaves you breathless through the final number.

The Phantom of the Opera is filled with intense desires and is very majestic in presentation, a production very worthy of your time and dollar.

If you never checked out The Phantom of the Opera, you’re missing a real treat. This would have to be a bucket list item. It’s that good. For the good folks at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Cameron Mackintosh’s version Andrew Lloyd Webber of The Phantom of the Opera, closes its national tour run in California, spectacularly.

What’s not to enjoy about The Phantom of the Opera? The musical score is top-notch. The haunting storyline rivets in twisting peril in just about every scene. The romantic plot is genuinely compassionate. There is mystery. There is suspense. There’s murder. And there is a beautiful and maiden in the middle of all this chaos and confusion.

What’s a girl supposed to do? Survive, I guess. Christine Daae (played incredibly wonderfully by Eva Tavares) manages to justify this by propelling a delicate balancing act in trying to please The Phantom (Derrick Davis), who serves as both her musical mentor and deranged wannabe lover.

Phantom of the Opera
Segerstrom Center for the Arts – The Phantom of the Opera – Eva Tavares as ‘Christine Daaé’ and Jordan Craig as ‘Raoul’ – Photo by Matthew Murphy

The Phantom comes on the scene as a dark figure and a man of mystery, someone given to physical splendor and musical genius status. The Phantom’s seduction in secrecy holds Christine until she relents to an open love with Raoul Vicomte de Chagny (Jordan Craig), which renders The Phantom into a manic state.

The troubled Phantom rages with indignation in his underground lair, plotting how he might go about avenging his loss. Our compassion for the villainous Phantom remains even when he turns mad and finds out he cannot have the love of his life and resorts to evil ways to have her.

In watching The Phantom of the Opera unfold throughout it’s two and a half hours, the build-up to the startling conclusion makes every penny you spent trivial compared to the entertainment value you receive. What makes The Phantom of the Opera so poetically beautiful is the powerful chemistry between the main characters.

The Phantom, Christine, and Raoul all compliment one another so well that one might make the argument that they echo a synchronized swim team looking for Olympic gold.

Phantom of the Opera
Segerstrom Center for the Arts – The Phantom of the Opera – Eva Tavares as ‘Christine Daaé’ – Photo by Matthew Murphy

The gist of the story is here is when the star of the Paris Opera House walks off the job, Christine (also played by Emma Grimsley, Jenna Burns, and Kaitlyn Davis during The Phantom of the Opera’s run at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts), abruptly gets thrown into the starring role.

The Phantom, the ever-lurking haunting presence at the Paris Opera House, hears the promise and potential in Christine’s angelic voice and immediately seek her out for her to become his official protégé-musically and otherwise.

For a while, enamored by the mysteriousness of The Phantom and his superb musicianship, Christine becomes a willing pupil. When that arrangement flips, the Phantom then goes on a murderous rampage to restore order, putting the Paris Opera House in a state of terror.

Tavares (Christine) and Craig (Raoul) are both excellent in their co-starring roles, but it is the power of Davis as The Phantom that makes The Phantom of the Opera a priceless jewel. The Phantom of the Opera has been around since 1986. Only three persons of color have ever played the role of The Phantom in the history of the Broadway musical.
Davis is one of them.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts – The Phantom of the Opera – The Company performs “Hannibal” featuring Phumzile Sojola as ‘Ubaldo Piangi’ – Photo by Matthew Murphy

While we’re adding to his barrier-breaking accolades, we must also address the fact that Davis is the first African American to do a national tour as The Phantom. Certainly, this is a noteworthy achievement. However, what also makes Davis stand out is the power he brings to the role of The Phantom.

The Phantom that Davis plays is one mired in the duality of several different personas. He is both a genius and a tormented soul. He is an unwitting victim as well as a madman gone wild. Davis navigates both worlds to perfection. His musical acumen is second to none.

Not only that, as The Phantom, Davis brings such a towering presence to the stage that he successfully incorporates menacing terror with an understated grace of warmth he displays to Christine as he tries to woo her.

The musical numbers The Music of the Night and The Phantom of the Opera that Davis shares equal billing with his Christine counterparts (Tavares, Grimsley, Burns, or Davis) are worth the price of admission themselves. It is in this vein where the full appreciation of The Phantom of the Opera lies. The musical score is phenomenal and the singing is simply on point.

As someone who had never seen The Phantom of the Opera before the national tour of the musical coming to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, I had no clue what to expect. Now that I have, I can say I get the hype. I fully understand why The Phantom of the Opera is the classic it has become. It is an experience you wouldn’t want to miss.

The Phantom of the Opera plays at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts July 19, July 20, and July 21. This run of The Phantom of the Opera national tour ends Feb. 2020.

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