Fox Theatre hosts classic production

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera haunts the Fox Theatre stage from Oct. 22 to Nov. 2. Phantom offers a chilling tale of passion, fear and lush music.

Phantom is Broadway’s longest running musical, and it continues to regularly gross roughly  $1 million a week. This new national tour introduces the first update of Phantom since its premiere in 1987.

The vamped-up tour is traveling to over thirteen states with a cast of thirty-seven, plus twenty crew members who travel with the show.

It takes twenty-one tractor-trailers to pull the massive, intricate set pieces including the one-ton chandelier rigged to move in new and terrifying ways.

Phantom is a musical based on Gaston Leroux’s novel, Le Fantôme de l’Opéra. The musical takes the audience back to the Paris Populaire in 1881 where the new owners, Firmin and André, have just arrived after the previous owner quit because of the mysterious acts of the opera ghost.

Christine Daaé, a chorus girl, is then given the opportunity to be the soprano prima donna when Carlotta, the current prima donna, gets frightened from a fallen set piece and storms off the stage, attributing it to the infamous opera ghost.

Christine has been receiving singing lessons from her “angel of music,” who turns out to be the phantom.

The story unfolds as Christine’s childhood friend and now lover, Raul, returns and threatens to take Christine away from the opera house and the phantom who is madly in love with her.

Phantom has inspired many renditions including the original musical theater production on West End in London (1986) to Broadway (1988) and can account for seventeen films.

The phantom has been portrayed by many talented performers including Michael Crawford in the original Broadway production, and, one many will recognize, Gerard Butler in the 2004 film.

Each actor is able to take a slightly different take on the complicated character that is the phantom.

For the 2014 North American Tour, the phantom is being played by Cooper Grodin who played Javert from Les Misérables (25th Anniversary Tour). He took a different approach to the character than many before him.

Grodin portrayed a more vulnerable phantom instead of the strong character portrayed by Butler or the majestic phantom portrayed by Crawford.

Grodin’s ability to portray the facets of the phantom through his voice is indicative of his previous training beginning early at LaGuardia High School of Music, Art, and Performing Arts in Manhattan.

Grodin has an ethereal voice in “Music of the Night” and displays his strong vocal abilities. The audience is able to watch the phantom slowly break down throughout the show and, by the end, be brought to tears.

The entire cast had a stellar performance. Phantom is Julia Udine’s (Christine Daaé) touring debut, and she played her part exactingly well, to a tee. Udine had a flawless performance, hitting all of the challenging notes asked of her character.

Ben Jacoby (Raul, Vicomte de Chagny) had an outstanding performance with commanding vocals and an intense portrayal of his character. This is Jacoby’s first major role, and he handled the pressure magnificently.

The Phantom of the Opera has been a phenomenal success since the beginning. After more than 11,000 performances, Phantom still manages to mesmerize audiences around the globe.

The phantom, a man who only wants to be loved by one person, will continue to capture the hearts of theatergoers everywhere.