The New York production of Phantom gets a rave review from Bloomberg News’ John Simon. This review was originally published on the Bloomberg News website.
Broadway’s Phantom Still King of Romance, Chills: John Simon
Sept. 5 (Bloomberg) — After 8,984 performances and with no end in sight, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1988 hit The Phantom of the Opera survives into a ripe age that makes it deservedly Broadway’s longest-running musical as well as an international favorite.
Based on a 1911 novel by the French thriller writer Gaston Leroux, Lloyd Webber’s Phantom has spawned many a film and television version, what with its melding of romance, the supernatural and tunefulness, an irresistible trio. By now you hardly need a synopsis of this love triangle involving a masked ghost bedeviling the Paris Opera, the dashing young Vicomte Raoul de Chagny, and Christine Daae, the nascent diva torn between them.
Ghosts are always popular as proof of afterlife and source of pleasurable chills; handsome, amorous aristocrats are perfect vessels of female fantasy, just as ambivalent, pulchritudinous heroines in distress perform the same function for the male equivalent. Add the appeal of a masked protagonist and the pleasure of a hummable exit to the mix, and you can hardly miss.
Back in 1988 I was rather chary of praise for the show, possibly because there was stiffer competition. Stacked up against molehills like Rock of Ages, Next to Normal and the late, unlamented 9 to 5, however, Phantom looms like Everest…
To read the review in full, visit the Bloomberg News website