I am an enormous fan of “The Phantom of the Opera,” but I have never seen it before the way I experienced it on Sunday, Oct. 2 at the Ziegfeld Theatre. Yes, I said the Ziegfeld Theatre, the movie house. The Ziegfeld was one of several locations around the globe to show on the big screen the live broadcast of the 25th anniversary performance of “The Phantom of the Opera” at the Royal Albert Hall in London. It was magnificent.
You think you’ve enjoyed “Phantom” before, but it’s even more amazing on the big screen, where there were several moments of close-ups, including on the chandelier as it rose and on the actors’ faces as they sang the many moving songs that Andrew Lloyd Webber created for this amazing musical. You saw all the passion, the heartbreak and the fear.
When I’ve experienced it on Broadway, I thought I had touched on the emotions that it releases, but to see it on the big screen live from the London stage was absolutely fantastic. When Christine sang “Think of Me,” it sent chills through my body. The orchestra was elevated high above the stage and the music was heart-pounding and superb.
The Phantom performing “The Music of the Night” was brilliant and powerful. Every scene was a showstopper. “Prima Donna” was amazing to behold. The cast’s voices were intense and incredible.
When Christine sang “Love Me,” the intensity and passion continued. When she sang “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again,” it was so beautiful I was in tears. When the songs were over, the audience-both in London and at the Ziegfeld-burst into applause and cheers, which went on for several moments.
Everything about this production was so intense that it was amazing to experience.
“The Phantom of the Opera” stars Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom. His performance was mesmerizing and inspired fear and sympathy. Sierra Boggess gave a brilliant, riveting performance as Christine. The entire cast of over 200 people also featured engaging performances by Barry James as Monsieur Firmin, Gareth Snook as Monsieur Andre, Liz Robertson as Madame Giry and Wynne Evans as Piangi.
“The Phantom of the Opera” first opened in 1986 at Her Majesty’s Theatre and is based on the French novel “Le Fantme de l’Opera.”
Worldwide, “Phantom” has grossed over $5.6 billion-box office revenues that are higher than any film or stage play in history, including “Titanic,” “E.T.” and “Star Wars.” It has been seen in 145 cities in 27 countries and played to more than 130 million people.
The show has won more than 50 major theater awards, including seven Tonies and three Olivier Awards in London. It is currently showing in London, New York, Budapest, Las Vegas and Kyoto. In 2006, it became Broadway’s longest running show.
After the performance, Webber came onstage to a standing ovation-a much-deserved show of appreciation for this man’s creative brilliance.
The broadcast was presented by NCM Fathom and Omniverse Vision. In addition to this unforgettable performance, the musical was followed by magnificent performances by some thrilling special guests, including Sara Brightman, the original Christine and Michael Crawford, the original Phantom.