The American Musical
Book by Arthur Kopit
Music and Lyrics by Maury Yeston
Winter Park, Florida
and Musical Numbers
Also known as "The American Musical," this appears to be the most popular Phantom musical not composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber. After actually watching this show, I can easily understand why.
Like the ALW musical, this one focuses on the romantic elements and ignores the mystery and horror found in Leroux's novel. Additionally, the issues of friendship, parental love, and family values are given a spotlight for the first time in any Phantom show or movie. The Kopit teleplay, on which the 1990 made-for-television miniseries starring Charles Dance is based, is an excellent story that can stand on its own quite well, in my humble opinion.
This was another local production in a dinner theatre, again a low budget show compared to the lavish productions I've seen at performing arts centers. Because we were at tables, it was a bit awkward at first for some people who had to rubberneck a lot or push their chairs around to enjoy the show after dinner.
Other than that, it was a lot of fun. The actors walked around us a lot of the times, making the audience feel like they were part of the show. The actor who played Gerard Carriere was top notch. He grabbed my attention from the start and had me weepy for him by the time the show was over. There was some excellent teamwork at the end of the play as well between Inspector Ledoux and Gerard Carriere, during the moment Carriere begs the police not to take the Phantom away.
Alain Cholet and his wife Carlotta were very funny. I loved the "open mouth, insert foot" moment when Alain tries to coddle his wife and says, "You are like spring. You are spring that is about to become spring. You are like spring that has sprung." Later on, there is one scene not included in the movie: the moment Carlotta drugs Christine's "nerve tonic" (This Place is Mine). In this show, she is portrayed a lot more comically especially as a puff of smoke "poofs" out of the vial as she pours the potion into the goblet.
Compared to Charles Dance, the infamous "WHY!" that the Phantom shouts during the unmasking scene was... anticlimatic. It seemed "rushed" and the Phantom's voice suddenly sounded thin as he said "Why!" I barely heard him. Then again, that cry Dance does in the movie will most likely always be a tough one to follow. He made up for it, though, as I could sware he was looking straight at me ever so sadly as he sang My Mother Bore Me.
One change they make in this live show (verses television miniseries movie) is the Phantom's attraction to Christine. I like the movie, but the live show made an excellent improvement. In the film, Christine resembles Erik's mother Belladova who had died when Erik was still an infant. In the live show, it is about the music and her voice. Her voice sounded like Belladova's so much, that even Gerard is nearly brought close to tears as he remembers his days with her.
I though I was just getting old, sensitive, and sentimental, but I found myself fighting back the waterworks at the end of the show. After the lights came back on and I could see other people in the audience, however, I noticed quite a few people wiping their red, puffy eyes. Even after I went to bed that night, I could feel myself getting a bit sad as I heard the final notes of You Are Music in my head.
One of the nice things about live shows is the spontaneity that can occur. When the Phantom kills Carlotta (a comical death by electrocution), one man sitting behind us sadly shouted, "No! Not Carlotta!" When Cholet tells Inspector Ledoux that she is dead, the same man behind us sadfully moans, "I liked Carlotta!" When the cast came out for the curtain call, the actor who played Erik pulled off his mask. I was kidding around with my family and acted scared. He saw what I did and seemed to appreciate my humor. He gave me a long, huge smile. *BLUSH*
Books | Movies | Musicals | Children | Musings
Trivia | Phunny | Links