Sunday, January 26, 2014

Returning to The Phantom....

The Phantom of the Opera is the longest running musical ever, and by a wide margin. For 26 years of continuous performances this story has touched the hearts of audiences on Broadway.


Far beneath the majesty and splendor of the Paris Opera House, hides the Phantom in a shadowy existence. Shamed by his physical appearance and feared by all, the love he holds for his beautiful protégée Christine is so strong that even her heart cannot resist.

Considering I have seen so many shows over the years it's surprising that the first time I saw Phantom of the Opera on Broadway was a few weeks ago. This is especially unusual because my husband's cousin Tim Jerome had been playing the role of Monsieur Firman during the time we lived in New York City several years ago. We kept planning to see Tim in the show but knew that Phantom of the Opera wasn't going anywhere so we had plenty of time. We thought we'd wait until the perfect night, like when family or friends came to town and we'd all go. 

However, we didn't think of the possibility that Tim could go somewhere....but he did, on to one of the leading roles in Tarzan, The Broadway Musical, (as Professor Porter). So, we missed our chance to see Tim in Phantom. Now, the odds of having a family member with a major role on Broadway are slim to none for most families. There he was only 15 blocks away night after night for two years and we never saw him in Phantom. In this I learned a lesson about putting things off. You can bet we saw Tim in Tarzan on Broadway (very early on)...and in 2008 when he was in a touring production as Alfred P. Doolittle in My Fair Lady, we were there. Now history has repeated itself and in 2012 he returned to his role as Monsieur Firmin in Phantom on Broadway. So we made sure to catch him in this role this time around, even though it involved a flight across the country, it was well worth it (and besides we had no one to blame but ourselves for that). The show was spectacular! Tim is a truly talented actor who has dedicated his life to the craft....and it shows. He was a fabulous part of this stellar cast.

About that Phantom.....

For those who do not yet know the story behind Phantom of the Opera we will start with young Christine, just a girl in the ensemble with a voice and a dream. A story told to her by her dying father that he will send her an angel of music seems to come true when a mysterious "phantom" from the shadows of the opera house visits her repeatedly while creating chaos around him. She wonders is he just a brilliant and lonely soul, or is he dangerous too? Enter Raoul....long before Facebook's help he finds his long lost crush Christine while watching a performance only to discover she seems to be under the spell of a strange, freakish being from the shadows of the opera house. He does his best to pull her away and into his arms. Does he succeed? 

Phantom has been performed in the past 26 years in several countries but the Broadway version is the original, where it all began. The direction of Harold (Hal) Prince, music of composer Andrew Lloyd Weber,  and the book and lyrics of Lerner, Stilgoe and Hart brought to life the story first told by Gastron Leroux (in a novel published in 1911 of a strange opera house phantom).
The new owners of the Paris Opera House....who have unwittingly purchased a theater with a resident ghost....

Tim Jerome (Monsieur Firman) & Laird Mackintosh (Monsieur Andre)...Photo by Joan Marcus for The Phantom of the Opera

When this show debuted on Broadway, Ronald Reagan was President of the United States, the internet was in its infancy, almost nobody had a cell phone and the word "tweet" was something only a bird did. So much has changed, but the Phantom of the Opera has remained a consistent hit Broadway show for over 10,000 performances on Broadway alone, (not to mention worldwide performances of this musical). That says it all about this story, and the actors, musicians and crew who have and continue to bring it to life!

"Returning to the cast of Phantom of the Opera portraying 
Monsieur Firmin is a truly rewarding, enriching experience." 
....Tim Jerome

Published in 1911, the original novel.

Phantom of the Opera fans are called Phans!

Full cast



Tim Jerome

The Phantom of the Opera Celebrates 25th Anniversary - YouTube

Remember the Las Vegas Phantom? Ran for six years at the Venetian...This was my farewell.

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