Legendary musical continues to please


Bryce Schulte

A car with a custom paint job advertising “The Phantom of the Opera” sits outside the Civics Center. The car was there for all the performance dates, free for the public to look at and take pictures with.

Bryce Schulte, Sub-Editor

I had the chance to go see the brilliant musical “The Phantom of the Opera” at the Civics Center in downtown Des Moines Sept. 20. In 2012, “The Phantom of the Opera” had been, in a sense, updated. There was speculation that the new performance would not be as good as the ones before it, but all of that was definitely proved wrong.

The plot is one that is relatable to every society. It is a story of love, envy and even altruism. Christine Daae was brought up in the Paris Opera House when her famous father who was a musician suddenly dies, and he tells her he will send her an angel of music to look after her. She grows up and discovers that she is hearing a voice, telling her to sing and teaching her how. She believes he is the angel of music, but in fact he is a disfigured genius, the Phantom. He falls in love with her over the course of the performance. Although she is fascinated and drawn towards the Phantom, she falls in love with her childhood sweetheart, the viscount de chagny, Raoul.

What happens throughout the story never ceases to become boring. Every scene of each act holds the viewers’ attention. Every moment something happens that either makes you gasp in shock, laugh or pulls at your heartstrings.

The props, done by set designer Paul Brown, were stunning. The statues on the set, the Phantom’s lair; all looked so realistic and beautiful. The entire play’s settings revolved around a giant spinning cylinder on the stage. The top was the catwalk used in the Paris Opera House and also served as the walkway leading down to the Phantom’s lair.

There were multiple doors in the enormous structure, each one opening to a different place. One was the managers’ office and the other was Christine’s room. At times the giant half cylinder would turn completely around and show scenes that constantly changed. It was always either the opera house, the Phantom’s lair or the cemetery where Christine’s father was buried.

Speaking of Christine, I must give props to Julia Udine for being able to live up to such a big role. Her acting and vocals were amazing. Her performance of “Think of Me,” was beautiful and gave me goosebumps. She hit the high notes with such grace and ease.

Cooper Grodin, who played the Phantom, also did a good job. The Phantom is the most pivotal character of the musical. His acting was on point, as were his accuracy on the notes. There were times where I could not always clearly understand the words, but that could have easily been a problem with the microphones. All in all, Grodin did fabulously.

All the actors did an amazing, but Udine and Grodin stood out the most. They did not stand out just because they played the main characters, but because their voices together were so perfect, and harmonized perfectly.

Director Cameron Mackintosh and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber worked together to make a masterpiece. In 1984, the musical of “The Phantom of the Opera” was just an idea, but 25 years later and it has been named the longest running show to have premiered on Broadway.

As of now, “The Phantom of the Opera” has moved out of Iowa to continue on its tour. But if you ever get the opportunity to see this musical, take it. “The Phantom of the Opera” is truly a beautiful performance. The cast of this tour has such great talent, the stage designs are simply gorgeous, and the plot is a story that anyone can find a way to relate to.