There’s a lot of nostalgia when you revisit a classic production. Phantom ran for over a decade in Toronto and it was one of the first musicals my parents took me to and also part of our school music program. Seeing it again brought back a lot of memories and that in itself made it an enjoyable evening.
Overall, there were a few flaws and the acting and vocal talents did not compete with the original. However, if this is your first time seeing Phantom, you’ll still be swept away by the large overtures and elaborate costumes and staging leaving a strong impression on what classic musical theatre is all about.
The original Phantom production allowed for the renovation of the Pantages theatre (now the Ed Mirvish) and was a true spectacle with falling chandelier (updated in this version). The new production runs in Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre for a strictly limited engagement from January 8 to February 2, 2020. The staging is reinvented with some modern twists and tech that wasn’t possible years prior and boosts a cast and orchestra of 52, making this one of the largest productions on tour in North America.
Derrick Davis portrays the man behind the mask, ‘The Phantom,’ with Emma Grimsley as ‘Christine Daaé, Jordan Craig as ‘Raoul,’ and Trista Moldovan as ‘Carlotta Giudicelli rounding out the main cast. Jordan Craig’s voice stood out from the group but not as power driven as needed to really capture the stage and echo through the theatre. This is also true for duets by Derrick and Emma, who’s voices didn’t fill the theatre, something that gives Phantom it’s overall energy and allure.
The acting was on par and some updated characterization was really good, especially Carlotta whose diva personality came across less over the top, yet still hit the punches. The Phantom, less sinister yet still sad and displaced, keeping true to the original classic novel Le Fantôme de L’Opéra by Gaston Leroux.
This musical is the perfect date night (family night) production. It has romance, intrigue and an easy storyline to follow and fall in love with. The musical score is just as powerful and timely today as it was decades ago and the mystery of the Phantom will continue to draw in audiences for years to come.
Cover photo: “The Journey” (From L) Derrick Davis as ‘The Phantom’ and Emma Grimsley as ‘Christine Daaé’ – Photo by Matthew Murphy