‘Phantom’ Arrives at the Westchester Broadway Theatre!0
By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
An outstanding production of Phantom opened at the Westchester Broadway Theatre (WBT) in September. Running until January 27th, with a hiatus for the yearly holiday production, and then returning December 27th, this is one of the BEST WBT shows imaginable!
Based on the classic novel Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, Phantom was written by Arthur Kopit, with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and music direction by Bob Bray. While it is a musical, dialogue draws the audience into the plight of every character on the stage of this large cast of over 23 performers. From the fabulous set design, the creative mechanics on stage when the Phantom disappears beneath the surface of the stage, this mystical, romantic, sometimes sinister story line instantly engages the audience. At the dinner theatre audiences will feel as if they are in an ornate opera house watching productions with each wardrobe change of the cast. Mist rises from the stage, the Phantom lurks in the shadows dressed in his long black cape, appearing menacing, yet it is easy to feel sympathy for this disfigured man and his years of isolation.
The central character, Erik (the Phantom), was born and raised in the catacombs under the Paris Opera House. Through a series of circumstances, he takes on as a pupil a young woman named Christine, who has been a street singer. She has a natural talent and a beautiful voice, but lacks the special training to perform in an Opera company. He agrees to take her on as a student with certain conditions, the main one being that she will never see his face.
Casting is excellent and the two leads, Matthew Billman (Phantom) and Kayleen Seidl (Christine) have voices that gave forth chills as they sang. Billman’s commanding voice took over the stage, with the dramatics of each of his comings and goings —with a swoop of his cape— back into the inner sanctions of the Opera House.
The chemistry between the two was believable and it was difficult not to root for this star-crossed romance. Strong supporting roles included James Van Treuren (Gérard Carrière), who cared for the Phantom during his years in hiding, Larry Luck (Count Philippe de Chandon) Christine’s other love interest, Kilty Reidy (Alaine Cholet), and Sandy Rosenberg (Carlotta).
The standing ovation at the finale demonstrated that this show has it all, with the acting, singing, music, scenery, choreography and over the top special effects. Don’t miss it! Holidays are coming and gift certificates or a night out with friends and family would be perfect for dinner and Phantom.
For Reservations: call (914) 592-2222 or visit: www.BroadwayTheatre.com