Thursday, January 3, 2013
Friday, November 4, 2011
If you wish to follow my endeavors elsewhere, feel free to visit my official author website at http://vickihopkins.com and sign up to follow my progress on numerous other blogs and books, such as:
The Legacy Series - Historical Romance Trilogy (Books One and Two now available)
Dark Persuasion - (Award Winning Finalist in the 2012 USA Best Book Awards and Rare Top Pick Review by Night Owl Romance) Now Available on Amazon
Conflicting Hearts - Adult Contemporary Romance under the pen name of J.D. Burrows
Monday, October 3, 2011
Whenever I see Phantom, I cry. Some shows I cry more than others, based upon the performance of the Phantom. Others have moved me to tears, but Ramin Karminloo moved me to uncontrolled weeping. Bonnie and I kept grabbing each other during various scenes, because they were so powerful.
I'm sure others have different opinions about the production, and I've read some already (not that the Phantom community ever complains or anything); but I can only reiterate yesterday was a celebration. I encourage the community not to turn it into a condemnation.
Those who were privileged to be in London and see the show live were surely blessed. The energy in the Albert Hall had to be electrifying. However, seeing it on the big screen in a theater was nothing less than mind blowing. The cinematography was fantastic! I thought we'd just be plugged into one camera during performance showing the stage as a whole, as if we were some person plunked in a seat in the auditorium with a cheap ticket. On the contrary, we were given a visual feast of various angles, closeups, and actually saw tears rolling down the faces of Ramin and Sierra.
As far as the staging and sets, it was somewhat different no doubt due to the change in venue. Some of the familiar items such as the dressing room were missing, the elephant for Piangi, and a few other nuances. No doubt that had much to do with the setting of the production, but frankly it did not deter the enjoyment of the show for me. The visuals were wonderful too on the big screen as far as the backdrops that showed such great views like the Phantom penning his notes.
The costumes were to die for! Have you ever been close enough to see the lines of the feathers in the Phantom's fedora or the bead work on his cape? How about Christine's wedding dress and all the intricate detail the eye can behold? The colorful costumes were breathtaking, and a fitting recognition was given to the designer, who passed away some years ago - Maria Bjornson.
The performances, as far as I'm concerned, were nothing close to mediocre. There were frankly brilliant in every possible way. Each Phantom, of course, brings their own interpretation of the role, and each fan has their preferences. However, after looking into Ramin Karimloo's eyes during some of the close-up scenes, I can honestly say the man embodied the Phantom perfectly. This was my first time seeing Karimloo play the original role. I have an extremely high regard for Ramin as a man of character, too, which was clearly demonstrated at the end of the show when he bowed to Crawford and held his hand to show him the respect he deserved.
As far as his overall portrayal and vocals, they were sublime. Frankly, I was a tad worried having heard reports that his voice wasn't up to par on the first performance, and he even tweeted he was aware of the problem. However, Sunday's performance he was at the top of his game. Ramin's portrayal moved me to tears. His hurt, longing, anger, and brokenness were palpable. He just didn't play a role; he became the character. If I could bow to him and kiss his hand, frankly I would. Well done indeed.
What can you say about Sierra Boggess? She is Christine Daae. Her performance was touching, conflicted, and filled with yearning -- frankly, I don't have enough words to express the depth of her portrayal or her wonderful vocals on stage. Her and Ramin were meant to play the part together. Their chemistry had already been forged in their roles in Love Never Dies, and that chemistry was brought to the 25th Anniversary celebration. Great casting choice, though some may disagree in my assessment and the reasons behind those choices.
I had never heard of Hadley Fraser until the 25th Anniversary cast was announced. Wonderful choice for Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny. He played it with just a tad bit of aristocratic arrogance, which was quite appropriate since he was a patron of the opera house, rich beyond belief, titled, and handsome to boot. I thought his endearment toward Christine quite touching, and his hatred toward his rival quite convincing. His vocals were superb.
As far as the remaining cast who played Meg, Madame Giry, Carlotta, Piangi, and the managers, they are all to be congratulated for their fantastic performances. They all deserve five star ratings, as well as the ensemble and chorus. Loved them all!
The onstage reprisals and celebration after the performance were fantastic. I get such joy seeing Andrew Lloyd Webber. (#1 bucket list for me - meet the guy personally). To top it off, we saw and heard Sarah Brightman, Anthony Warlow (former AU production), John Owen Jones (current Phantom in London), Colm Wilkinson (former Phantom Toronto), and Peter Joback (new Phantom for London effective March 2012). Michael Crawford came out on stage and the audience, of course, gave him the accolades due for being in the original cast. It was a very moving ending indeed.
Yes, it was a celebration of the 25th anniversary. Of course, other reviews contrary to my own are popping up making it more of a condemnation instead. And, yes, you are entitled to your opinions. I can only add that the joy of Phantom is a universal gift that has been bestowed upon us by Andrew Lloyd Webber and the many others responsible for the creation of this wonderful production. As for me, I will not and cannot condemn and nitpick to death the beauty of yesterday's production. Why? Because it's not about me, folks, nor shockingly is it about you. It's about the continued existence of this wonderful show and story and the success of 25 years rolled into a program of celebration.
In conclusion, all I can say is that it will be forever etched in my mind as a fantastic presentation of the story I so dearly love. I hope to own it on DVD one day and play it until I have to buy another copy because I've worn it out.
If you haven't had the opportunity to see it yet, it's replaying encore performances at selected theaters this week. CLICK HERE for information and tickets. Go! Go and enjoy it and glory in the celebration of The Phantom of the Opera.
The Phantom's Student aka Vicki
P.S. Read a great article of accolades BROADWAY WORLD
Saturday, September 24, 2011
The lair, in case you didn't know, isn't exactly the safest place to be these days as a fan of The Phantom of the Opera. After being hounded down by a few - met with hatred by a few, just because I saw, liked, and supported Love Never Dies, I've often considered throwing the towel into the lake under the opera house and never returning.
I've been defriended on social mediums, blocked, forum crucified, tweeted as a moron who writes garbage, and reviewed on Amazon as an "amateur" who knows nothing. Ah, the love of the lair! Where else in the entertainment community can you find such -- such unconditional love and acceptance? Maybe during the final lair scene on stage, but most definitely not in the Phantom community.
The full cast has been announced. You can read all about it on BroadwayWorld.com. CLICK HERE As the old saying goes, "You can please some of the people some of the time . . . but you can never please all of the people all of the time." So is the same with casting of the 25th anniversary celebration.
Frankly, I think some of the disgruntled rumblings around the lair come from the casting of Ramin Karminloo and Sierra Boggess, who stared in Love Never Dies in London. I can only surmise Ramin and Sierra are somehow marked for life for participating in LND, and therefore are not worthy to perform in the iconic celebration of 25 years.
A lot of fans had their own favorites, of course, they would have cast in the roles--that I can understand. However, casting isn't always easy. People have other commitments. Younger choices have been made rather than older seasoned performers. It is what it is. The power to choose was not given to you as a fan. And if you did have the power, you'd be in the same gondola - you'd please yourself, but alienate others.
However, Sierra and Ramin are no strangers to the roles. Ramin, of course, played Phantom at Her Majesty's Theatre, and Sierra played Christine in the Las Vegas production. Both were highly acclaimed in their performances, and I am sure will do the 25th anniversary justice, even if they're not your favorites.
The complaints go on and on, and I don't wish to rehash the unhappy ramblings of people's opinions on the remaining cast choices. However, I'll put my two cents into the ring before I take my Fandango ticket to Lloyd Center Theaters in Portland, Oregon to see the show at 11:00 a.m., on October 2nd. When I sit down in that theater seat, no doubt with popcorn in hand and friends sprinkled throughout the seats next to me, I'll first bemoan I'm not there in London. You guys that get to see this live are so lucky! Enjoy!
Then, as the lights dim, and the show starts, Ramin and Sierra will not be my focus, nor any of the other actors/actresses dressed in the stunning costumes. Instead, I will be looking at the Phantom, Christine, Raoul, Meg, Madame Giry, Carlotta, Piangi, the Managers, and the other wonderful extras who make up this fantastic show. I'm going to get lost in the scenery. I'm going to be enthralled when I hear The Music of the Night, and swoon in the lovely rooftop scene of All I Ask of You. Then, I'll no doubt shed my usual tear in the final lair scene when I hear the Phantom sing, "It's over now, the music of the night." (Even though it really isn't over.)
When it's all said and done, I'm going to jump to my feet and yell bravo and clap enthusiastically as the cast takes their bows and we celebrate worldwide 25 years of a wonderful show. I don't care who makes money off this production. I don't care who stars on stage. I don't care if you're one of the disgruntled fans in the lair who complain about everything. All I care about, is enjoying the show and loving the story.
I encourage you to do the same. Put aside your prejudices for a day and join in the worldwide celebration of The Phantom of the Opera wholeheartedly. That's what October 2, 2011 is all about. It's about the story you love and defend.
Oh, and Andrew - THANKS! Thanks for everything you've given us in the old and the new. My respect for you as a composer will never end.
Just in case you miss it live in London or miss it at the theater, head on over to the official website and preorder the CD/DVD. CLICK HERE
And that's my rambling opinion for the day!
The Phantom's Student aka Vicki
Monday, August 29, 2011
However, the question remains open to you, my readers. What makes a great on-stage Phantom in your opinion? We can think of many greats from the past who have played the role from Michael Crawford to John Owen Jones, currently in the production at Her Majesty's Theatre.
As I've wandered the Internet and various forums, you often see posts from individuals who talk about their favorites. Each person seems to have their own idea of what makes a great Phantom and why that individual's performance touched them above others.
Of course, none of us have probably seen every single man on stage who has worn the mask around the world in the various productions. In case you are curious who has worn the mask in the past 25 years, there's a good thread on Deserted Phans, a forum for POTO, attempting to list all who have played the iconic Opera Ghost. CLICK HERE
Out of the ones we see on stage, each fan seems to pick one performer that moves them the most in their performance. Out of the four Phantom's I've seen perform the role, Scott Davies, is my favorite. I wish I could say, I've seen Peter, but I have not.
So what are the qualities of a great stage Phantom? Where in the production do we judge the pinnacle of their performance to form an opinion? Music of the Night? Point of No Return? Final lair scene?
Do we take into account the vocals of the performer? How about his nuances of the portrayal of the Phantom himself -- like the way he moves across the stage, or uses his hands and fingers? How about the acting and his reactions such as his cries, his tears, his rage, his parting words of love to Christine? There are so many variances, it's really hard to point to one single thing that makes a great Phantom. Frankly, I think it's whatever touches you as an individual in the whole of the performance itself.
The character of the Phantom is portrayed differently from actor to actor. Always the same lines, usually the same choreography, but differences of interpretation as to the personality of the individual in the black cape. One may appear more menacing and evil than another in the final lair scene or another perhaps controlling, frustrated, or broken.
In the Music of the Night, seduction, passion, and chemistry between Christine and the Phantom vary too. How many have you watched them glide their hands across her body and sway her in a certain way that gives you that craving to be embraced by that bad-boy? I find it quite fascinating, because some people are more prone to the "sexy" Phantoms rather than the "dangerous" psychopath that has you in his clutches. Ah, such sweet intoxication!
I guess whatever floats your gondola is the one you'll choose as your favorite great on-stage Phantom.
Anyway, tune in if you can to hear Peter Karrie. We'll promise to pick his brain about his interpretation of the Phantom of the Opera and perhaps learn why he was chosen as the favorite of many.
If you want, comments are open this time. Feel free to post what makes a great on-stage Phantom in your eyes.
The Phantom's Student aka Vicki
Enjoy Peter in the Music of the Night:
Thursday, August 25, 2011
What's the significance? Well, if you're a fan of Love Never Dies in London, it's a sad day indeed, because it will have its last performance at the Adelphi Theatre on The Strand. It means that a group of wonderful, talented, and fantastic men and women are going to be out of a job; and that, in itself, saddens me to the core.
What do I think of those performers who put their heart into this production from the beginning? Well, let me tell you, because I too have a voice.
First off, I think they are servants at heart, especially Ramin Karimloo. I have great respect for this man, because he understands what it means to serve and do your best in spite of obstacles and opposition. He served his master well. Hats off to you, Ramin! I respect you greatly -- your talent, fortitude, and heart from God. I wish you the best in your future endeavors.
To Sierra Boggess, Joseph Millson, Summer Strallin, Liz Robertson, Niamh Perry, Adam Pearce, Jami Reid-Quarrell, and the many talented young boys who played Gustave -- my hat off to you as well! You should be commended for your wonderful performances, your tenacity to ignore the naysayers, and your unending every night, wholehearted performances given to the audience. You guys rocked!
To Tam Mutu! Bravo! Wonderful interpretation of Phantom as well. Thanks, Tam, for your fantastic spirit and love of the character. It was a pleasure to see you perform more often in that iconic role. We wish you the very best as you move on in your career.
To the new cast Celia Graham, David Thaxton, Haley Flaherty, Tracey Penn, Charles Brunton, and the new group of young men who came in after the changes to the show as Gustav -- bravo to you as well. You supported the creator of the production, as he tirelessly endeavored to refine his work. You gave it your all and stood by him in the process. You picked up where others left off, and continued to give the audiences great performances.
We appreciate every one of you and wish you the best for the future. You have blessed the hearts of those who received you with open arms, gave us a touching stage production and the opportunity to once again to see Phantom and Christine interact with each other on stage in a story we didn't find offensive.
Though mud has been slung your way, websites have gone up to discredit the show, pages created to complain, protestors have left anti-show fliers at the theatre, nailed them on telephone poles, flipped you the bird, and participated in a war of words on every social medium imaginable on the Internet, you held your heads up high through it all and did your very best in spite of opposition to the story and the characters you represented. We admire you for the professional way in which you handled the onslaught, and we appreciate your loyalty to Andrew Lloyd Webber's vision to continue the story he put on stage 25 years ago.
When you take your last bow in Love Never Dies on the evening of August 27th at the Adelphi Theatre, be assured there are people who love and respect you deeply as the individuals and wonderful performers you are. God bless every one of you in your careers. May you go on and become successful in all that you set your hand to, and may you take with you cherished memories of your time in the production.
As you do, remember that those feelings you elicited in the audience, who watched your wonderful performances, will never die. They will live on in our hearts as fond memories, because we were privileged to be blessed by your outstanding talent and fantastic voices.
From my heart, and I'm sure from many others,
The Phantom's Student aka Vicki Hopkins
P.S. If you'd like to leave a tribute to the London cast and crew, you can do so at the official Love Never Dies fan site. They are due our respect and love. CLICK HERE
Note: Picture of final bow on closing night reposted with permission.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Even though I am quite familiar with the London version, the visual spectacle of the Melbourne production is exciting to say the least. It recently received three Helpmann awards for Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design, and Best Lighting. The latest news is that Love Never Dies will be filmed in Melbourne on September 15th for international release, so many worldwide will be able to experience it via DVD and make up their own mind.
Below is Anthony's experience.
Love Never Dies has kept the candle burning ever so brightly, not that the light had ever dimmed on Phantom, as it is the most successful piece of entertainment in all history. Many people have come out against the concept of a sequel to Phantom, but I for one will always be a supporter. This Melbourne/Australian production is a success, much to the dismay of many haters.
The buzz around the Regent Theatre is electric. I got here at 12:00pm today, because I hadn't bought a ticket online. I had heard about the Box Office specials that are not available online at Ticketmaster.com, so I figured I would try my luck in person. After lining up, I scored a $45 ticket special (at a usual rate of $125, I think I did well.)
The Regent is packed today, plenty of wine, chatter, programs being sold and read, all these anxious/curious people are just waiting for the doors to open. I went to my seat, which was kind of to the side, but still it was only seven rows from the front so I am not complaining. I can admit I was a bundle of nerves, because I felt overwhelmed and emotional with The Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies had made me feel even more emotional.
Sitting there waiting for the show to start, for moments you look ahead at the set pieces in front of you that make up the setting of . Listening to people beside me and behind me, you can tell that they are anxious and curious and not quite sure what to expect. This is my third performance, and I still feel emotional and happy and ready to surrender to the story again.
Suddenly, the lights . . . go . . . out. . .
Coney Island 1907
It begins with the lights . . . then the Aerie . . . already watching Ben Lewis in place as the Phantom, you see and feel his longing. He puts everything into his performance as the Phantom. He is such a professional actor.
Then he starts singing 'Til I Hear You Sing. He is just amazing when he sings. He has a deeper voice than Ramin Karimloo, but he makes the role his own. By the end of 'Til I Hear You Sing, you definitely know that he is still very much in love with his Christine.
The trio Doctor Gangle, Squelch and Miss Fleck begin the Coney Island Waltz along with an amazing ensemble of Freaks. At this point, you can be forgiven for not knowing where to look because the stage is full of light and color and all round talent and excitement. The set for Coney Island is comprised of a Roller Coaster set pieces, which also serve as a bridge for the performers, going up and down. It's an amazing use of the stage. The big Phantom mask appears on and off during the show.
As the story unfolds, we meet Sharon Millerchip, who has reprised her role of Meg as she played Meg in the original production of Phantom in . She is very playful and talented, but you pick up very quickly that she just wants the Phantom's praise.
Then we meet Maria Mercedes, who plays Madame Giry as a no nonsense, single goal-orientated woman. What I find interesting is how Giry has gone from a protector of Christine to being very much against her. Meg although is excited at the prospect of seeing Christine again.
Then we meet our Christine, played by Anna O'Byrne, who is so beautiful, not only in her glowing appearance, but her voice as well which we don't hear until later. Simon Gleeson is brilliant as Raoul. He gives off a tone of control in everything he says and does, even though it becomes evident quickly that they have come to seeking fortune, because Raoul has become a drunk and has lost his fortune. I could hear people behind me saying, "she is beautiful."
Then we meet Gustave, who at this performance was played by Kurtis Papadinis. He is a talented boy, and you pick up quickly his curious nature, very much creating the family image.
So by this point, we have established that Christine is in New York to sing for Oscar Hammerstein. In an interesting deception, the trio who are played by Dean Vince, Paul Tabone and Emma Hawkins, help the Phantom's plan to deceive Christine and Raoul by appearing in a carriage, assuring them that they are taking them to Hammerstein when actually they are taking them to Coney Island.
At first, I didn't like how Raoul had become a drunk. You pick up the arrogance in him, Simon Gleeson does it so well. We hear Anna speak and sing at this point, she is just perfect as Christine. She was also an understudy for Christine in the Australian tour of Phantom a few years ago. She has great chemistry with the young actors who play her son Gustave. Being my third show, I've seen Trent Heath, Kurtis Papadinis, and Jack Lyall play the role of Gustave. She has a beautiful voice and shows genuine affection and plays a mother so well.
After she sings Look With Your Heart with Kurtis, we watch as Ben's Phantom and Anna's Christine reunite. Ben has such a presence. With Anna, you see the anger and hear it in Christine's reaction to seeing him again. What I love here though is that we find out the Phantom and Christine shared a night of passion together, so he has felt the joys of the flesh. This goes into Beneath a Moonless Sky and then into Once Upon Another Time. I found the chemistry between Ben and Anna here so natural. They make the story so real.
The Phantom threatens Christine that he will take Gustave away from her if she doesn't sing for him once more, and you can see that Christine is genuinely hurt by this. Then the Phantom disappears and leaves her with his music. It's here you see something happen, almost something sympathetic. She starts humming the music, and I think she realizes here it is about her, but that is just what I think. She walks to the balcony and the music is playing when Raoul reappears.
Then you see the conflict in Christine when she has to decide what she is going to do, to sing or not to sing. Anna puts so much into the title song Love Never Dies. The Phantom wins the bet here but it comes at such a cost. You hear the regret of Raoul. You see the desperation of Meg, and her depressive state turned to desperation. It becomes so much more emotional towards the moment she holds a gun to her own head then to the point she shoots Christine.
The shock, the pain, the hurt, you feel everything. The tears well up in your eyes. You are overcome with emotion and watch as Ben cries out and puts all his heart into his final scene with Anna. When Gustave goes to the Phantom, your heart just breaks knowing he has accepted him to be his father.
Many thanks to Anthony sharing how the experience of seeing Love Never Dies has touched him as an individual. Anthony has scored a ticket for the filming of Love Never Dies on September 15th, so he'll be back to see it again.
Thanks Anthony for sharing with us!
For those interested in a new fan site for Love Never Dies, please visit by Clicking Here
Saturday, August 6, 2011
In the past 25 years, those lyrics have been sung by hundreds of actresses on stage worldwide. Join us this Saturday as we hear from Kristen Hertzenberg what it’s like to wear those spectacular costumes and sing those heart-wrenching words to the Phantom on stage at the fabulous Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular.
If you missed it live, it’s archived. Visit our show page by CLICKING HERE and listening to the great show.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
"I could not help shuddering when I thought of the monster. His horrible, unparalleled and repulsive ugliness put him without the pale of humanity; and it often seemed to me that, for this reason, he no longer believed that he had any duty toward the human race."
"I do not understand you. You treat him as a monster, you speak of his crime, he has done you harm and I find in you the same inexplicable pity that drove me to despair when I saw it in Christine!"
It's inexplicable to Raoul anyone should show the monster pity. It drives him to despair that two people find it in their heart to understand the root of his problem. Erik harms both of them - the Persian and Christine. However, neither holds a grudge against the monster, but they hold a healthy fear of him knowing of the monstrous behaviors he's capable of displaying. As the Persian states, "I have forgiven him him the harm which he has done me."
Christine does the same. Kidnapped and imprisoned by the monster she fears, she watches his behavior and declares to Raoul that she cannot hate him.
"With horror!" she said. "That is the terrible thing about it. He fills me with horror and I do not hate him. How can I hate him, Raoul? Think of Erik at my feet, in the house on the lake, underground. He accuses himself, he curses himself, he implores my forgiveness!...He confesses his cheat. He loves me! He lays at my feet an immense and tragic love. ... He has carried me off for love!...He has imprisoned me with him, underground, for love!"Why must we forgive the monster? The theme of forgiveness is one buried in the Phantom of the Opera too teaching us it's better to forgive than to hate. Yet it doesn't do away with the fact that Erik was a monster. I often wonder if that is why Erik is sometimes portrayed as young and sexy underneath a deformity most can live with, because we want to sugarcoat the true distortion underneath. It's frankly just too hideous to consider.
He was a madman in many ways, filled with rage and anger burning toward his fellow human being. The root of that rage could be multifaceted from everything from jealousy of those normal, self-loathing for his hideous appearance, and anger towards the lack of compassion from others. What other mental instability could he have possessed? Could we use the insanity defense on his behalf for his murderous crimes?
Well, after this gross dissection of Erik's mental instability or distortion in his soul, what do you take away from his personality? If he had harmed you, would you have forgiven him or would you have been like Raoul still filled with disgust over the monster that caused you harm? Forgive him or not, Erik definitely had a very dark side about his persona. Perhaps that is why we like to smooth over that inward ugliness with handsome men behind the mask we find appealing and sexy regardless of his facial deformity on one side.
Enough of psychoanalyzing our beloved Phantom. He represents within each of us the light and darkness we possess in our own souls.
The Phantom's Student aka Vicki
PS...if these additional posts keep up, I'll be releasing edition number three! The thoughts just keep coming. Blame it on the monster!
Friday, June 24, 2011
- The hurt of unrequited love
- The need to hide behind our symbolic masks to veil our inward ugliness
- The need for acceptance and unconditional love
- The need to be forgiven for the evils of our past
- The need to be seen and wanted in order to save us from our loneliness and isolation
"Forget me; forget this; leave me alone; take the boat, swear to never to tell of the secret you know of the angel in hell. . ."
As for me, I see the concept of redemption in this story as a process and a journey, and not one that came to completion at the end of a kiss. Frankly, I think that would have been too easy. Change comes through growth, and growth comes through experience. The Phantom up to that point had neither.
Vicki aka The Phantom's Student
Friday, June 17, 2011
NOTE: I've closed the comments on this post for a variety of reasons. Mostly, I just don't want this blog to turn into a forum debate about Love Never Dies. There are so many other places on the Internet to talk about the likes, dislikes, and its recent demise from the West End, that I just don't feel it appropriate to rehash the matter here. Thanks for your understanding.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Go visit his page on Facebook and show your support.
The Phantom's Student aka Vicki
Friday, May 27, 2011
"For a show that should have been a sure-fire hit, it has been beset by some of the bloodiest behind-the-scenes shenanigans seen in the West End."
"There is a place for all forms and levels of theatre, and producers, composers and artists have every right to create any new shows they like for the mingled delight and despair of theatre audiences."
UPDATE: You gotta see these pictures!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I'm happy to report that a group of fans on both sides of the fence have started a new Phantom forum under the name of Love Should Not Divide. Kudos to their efforts for attempting to create a safe haven for fans to have intelligent conversations that are non-judgmental in a safe environment. Everyone should be able to express their opinions regarding matters of the Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies without the fear of retribution. It's a step in the right direction to calm this flaming war. Please visit and support their efforts. Thanks.
The Phantom community is in trouble. We're in the final lair scene, and for some odd reason this picture paints a thousand words. What I'm about to write is from my heart. Like it or not, it's what I feel. It's what grieves me, and there's nothing that can be done about it. At least it certainly doesn't seem that way.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
I am not posting to bemoan one-star reviews from three narrow-minded readers. I'm posting because their comments finally pushed me over the edge to write a post I've thought about for some time. I've put it off because I didn't feel like getting strung up with a Punjab lasso. However, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Apparently, in the eyes of some, there is a Golden Rule one must follow when writing anything Phantom - "Do unto Leroux, as Leroux has done unto you."
The Leroux camp of late are the greatest defenders of them all. Why? Well, it's the root of their faith. He is the creator of Phantomdom. His writing is worshiped and revered, and those who have been enlightened by its words will protect it at all costs, even if it means crucifying fellow fans outside the gates to make a point. It's obvious by the comments above that my worth as a Phantom fan is being described as minuscule, because I apparently failed to show the proper homage and intelligence when it came to Gaston Leroux's Le Fantôme de l'Opéra.
I'm not writing this just because of three stupid statements posted on Amazon. You can probably tell by the tone of this post, I'm a bit irritated. I'm irritated on your behalf more than anything, and am writing it because I've read comments elsewhere directed at other fans in the community worldwide who have been ridiculed as ignoramuses, because they held a preference to a different version or never read the original work.
That's were I get up in the pulpit and start to preach my protestant Phantom beliefs, even if I may get burned at the stake by the end of this blog. I preach it because I know the people that visit this blog come from a large spectrum of fans and countries worldwide. All of you have been touched by the story in a variety of ways and by the various versions. You have a right to love the version that inspires you the most - whether it's Leroux, Webber, Yeston and Kopit, 2004 Webber/Schumacher movie, or the controversial sequel. The irony of it all, is that most people who are introduced to Phantom through other means, end up being directed back to the original book that they probably would have never bothered to read beforehand.
People often say Leroux is tossing in his grave over Love Never Dies. Well I think he's tossing in his grave because the people who revere his work haven't been able to live the message he left between the pages. I'm sure his intent when he wrote the book was not to be worshiped 100 years later as some type of Phantom god. No doubt he merely envisioned writing a good story, with a poignant message, that would bring him some measure of success and nothing else.
In closing, if you're love Leroux, great for you. If you love Webber and other adaptations, great for you too. With that love, show an ounce of tolerance, please, to fans who may not hold your same level of devotion to the creator of Phantomdom.
The Phantom's Student aka Vicki