Well. four hundred and eighty eight years after it landed on Broadway, I have finally seen Phantom of the Opera.
I enjoyed the HELL out of it. I have never in my life seen anything so absolutely ridiculously over the top in my life. I think Andrew Lloyd Weber and the rest of the crew involved must have all sat down and gotten drunk/stoned and went, "Well, okay, we've got the Phantom flying down over the audience in a golden thing that looks like a lion/eagle cross, and then just for the hell of it, let's throw a big old lightning bolt across the back of the stage...you know, just in case nobody noticed that he's supposed to be evil."
I mean, people, this is not a show...this is what your basic country fair would do for its Horror House if they had money. I have never laughed so hard (internally, because my escort just LOVES this show) in my life.
And for what it is (thrill the tourists! make millions of dollars!), it is superb. Technically, it is one of the best things I've ever seen in my life...the ride across the underground lake, the little ballet girls each dressed in a copy of the Degas ballerina statue, the Mask of the Red Death bit...theatrically, it really is stunning. And of course, the falling chandelier. But the problem for me is that because I am a theatre person, I found myself having half my mind distracted.
There is so DAMN much scenery and so DAMN many costumes. And that's all fine. But as a pro at this, I found my mind wandering to: Okay, now that's an onstage costume change. Velcro? Yeah, gotta be Velcro...put the dressing gown in the front, yank from the back. Okay, got that. Phantom hides under cloak at the end, leaves glowing Phantom mask. Gotcha; false back on chair, actor leaves chair, stagehand places mask. Gotcha.
And of course, it all takes place in an opera house, which is over the top to begin with. I recommend to all Terry Pratchett's book Maskerade (not a misspelling), which is a take-off on the Phantom and hilarious and which kept going through my mind all afternoon.
But there was something quite lovely...it turned out that the show we saw was the 9000th performance. And Andrew Lloyd Weber and Hal Prince arrived on stage at the curtain call to mark this occasion (along with a large cake). That was pretty cool.
However, for the full horror of the Phantom, you must read the original book, which is called The Phantom of the Opera and is by Gaston Leroux, and is MUCH scarier than any stage production could ever be.
Then I had a drink with Marty and went off the the Corner Bistro, where a lot of men my own age fell madly in love with me. Not a bad day at all.