As October 2, 2011 nears to the 25th anniversary celebration of The Phantom of the Opera, a lot has been stirring in my opinionated soul. Usually, when I post an opinion, I pay for it in many ways.
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.
Now that I got that out of my soul, let's proceed to the 25th Anniversary celebration. I had posted an article sometime ago about Phantom forums, where I occasionally read, lurk, and foolishly contribute my opinion. There's been a ton of chatter in the lair recently regarding the 25th anniversary concert of The Phantom of the Opera to be held at the Royal Albert Hall.
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