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'Phantom of the Opera' doesn't disappoint

Musical playing at ASU until July 3

 by Laura Winger  published on Tuesday, June 21, 2005


An opera singer, a childhood love and an obsessive murderer with eyes only for the girl.

These characters are all part of the well-known musical that is gracing the stage in Gammage Auditorium this month.

Tempe is the third stop in the U.S. Tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. Andrew Lloyd Webber's other musicals include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Evita, Cats and Jesus Christ Superstar. The showings at ASU began June 8 and will continue until July 3.

The show was fantastic. The music was just as I remembered it, and the singers really showcased their talent. The set looked very basic at first glance, but it became apparent throughout the show that much work went into the planning and design of it.

At different times during the show, a bridge would raise one way, and then turn another way. Countless curtains went up and down, and candles would rise up from everywhere on the stage and simply cover its floor.

The seemingly simple set, starting out with an auction scene, transformed through time. A little bit of fog helped create the illusion of the Phantom rowing a boat under a bridge and through a lake.

The Phantom, played by Gary Mauer, appeared above the decorations surrounding the top of the stage. His silhouette was seen in a mirror, and shadow appeared in various places within moments of each other.

Mauer even mounted a floating decoration to make his devious appearance after the love song between Christine, played by Rebecca Pitcher, and Raoul, played by Michael Shawn Lewis. And at the very end of the show, Mauer used some magic and completely disappeared before the eyes of the audience.

Full of promised love, betrayal, suspicion and fear of death, The Phantom of the Opera tells a great story. The music fills audience members with the emotions of the characters in their tragic situations. Mix that with a little comedy from time to time and great songs that stay in your head for months, and you've got a stellar Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

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