Advance Tickets Recommended
James Barbour, Julia Udine
1, 2, 3, 7, N, Q, R, S at Times Sq.-42nd St.; A, C, E at 42nd St.-Port Authority Bus Terminal
||Mon, Wed-Sat, 8pm; Tue, 7pm; Wed, Sat, 2pm|
To look on the bright side first, The Phantom of the Opera is a terrific technical achievement. If you want scenery and costumes, sight gags and sight thrills, they're all there—$8.5 million worth of them—on the aptly named Majestic stage. And who doesn't want to see candles sprout all around an underground lake (even if it does not make technological sense) and a giant chandelier almost crash into the audience below (even if it looks more like a giant balloon changing courses in midair)? It is good, mindless fun, and costs less than a trip to Disney World. One of the Phantom's ominous lines runs, "Remember, there are worse things than a shattered chandelier!" Quite. The question here is are there better ones? The only areas in which The Phantom of the Opera is deficient are book, music, and lyrics. To be sure, the 1911 potboiler by Gastron Leroux, on which the show is based, had a solid theme in the Monster's impossible love for the Girl, which served both fairy tales and authors as diverse as Victor Hugo and Gerald Du Maurier tidily. If it's not so romantic as Beauty and the Beast, not so epic as Esmeralda and Quasimodo, not so suggestive as Trilby and Svengali, and not so titillating as Sarah Brightman and Andrew Lloyd Webber, it is nevertheless within strumming distance of the heartstrings. But the way Richard Stilgoe and A.L.W. have adapted it, it is hard to follow and harder to care about: Tonto and the Masked Man generate as many sparks as the chorine Christine Daaë and her Phantom.