By DOM GALEON
Photos by ZEUS MARTINEZ
It was an incredible transformation, what they did to the stage at the Theater at Solaire.
It was, in its truest sense, a stage set out of time. From the carefully-orchestrated curtain draws, to the elaborately designed set pieces, and from the exquisitely detailed and colored costumes to the shattering of the chandelier, there was nothing silent and resigned in this year’s staging of Broadway’s longest-running musical, The Phantom of the Opera.
Indeed, it’s difficult to put it from your mind.
Everything about this classic musical was perfect, not a tune from the organ or vibration from the violins or a note from the live orchestra misplaced—although there was one misstep from lead actor Jonathan Roxmouth at that moment the Phantom appears during the masquerade scene, from which the thespian recovered perfectly and with flair.
South African stage actor Jonathan began his career in 2006, landing the role of Vince Fontaine in Grease. This is also not his first time as the Phantom, a mask he first wore in 2011. He was the Phantom during the 2012 Manila tour of The Phantom of the Opera.
Joining Jonathan in this long-awaited return to the Philippines of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s 1986 West End (and 1988 Broadway) musical is a cast of the finest caliber. Meghan Picerno, who has been hailed by the New York Times for her “attractive soprano voice” and described by Broadway World for having “total control of the stage,” plays the role of ballerina turned-stage-darling Christine Daaé.
Her on-stage leading man, the lovestruck Raoul Vicomte de Chagny, is played by British-American theater, TV, and film actor Matt Rhys Leisy. His experiences on stage include roles in musicals like Sweeney Todd and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.
Now let’s talk about the music of the night.
The singing was superb, with Meghan hitting every note of her operatic numbers, including favorites like “Think of Me,” “Angel of Music,” and “All I Ask of You” (a duet with Matt).
A spine-tingling, hair-raising moment was when she did the famous soprano part for “The Phantom of the Opera”—at the sound of the first five notes of this main theme, you could almost hear the audience gasping.
When Jonathan tells his angel of music to “sing,” sing Meghan did—and powerfully! Equally mesmerizing was their rendition of “The Point of No Return.”
The Phantom of the Opera is, indeed, here. And it will stay inside your mind after you watch any of its succeeding shows at the Theater at Solaire, running until March 31. The Philippine leg of this international tour is presented by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, Concertus Manila, and Smart.
Reserve your seats at ticketworld. com.ph.