Mother Goose used to say, “It’ll be a cold day in hell before I get to see Phantom of the Opera on the stage…”
And then it happened! And thankfully, it was a cold day in Chicago not hell.
For twenty-five years, this story and opera ghost have been seen in theatres around the world — but never within the grasp of Mother Goose. I’ve heard the songs in my head for so long, seen the movie renditions of the Broadway productions and the Hollywood productions of the original screenplay, and read the original novel over and over. I have permanently sealed this tragic love story of the ages within the phantom’s lair of my fowl brain. “Where all will pay homage to moooooosic…. my moooooosic.”
And then the surprise announcement that this new production by Sir Cameron Mackintosh would indeed be stopping in Chicago for a short run at the Cadillac Palace Theatre! Imagine Mother Goose gasping at the thought! And then the gentle nudge to Husband Goose, “Oh dear Mark, look! Phantom of the Opera is coming to Chicago….wouldn’t it be wonderful to see it? What a sweet birthday gift it might make…”
And then within minutes, the electronic printer of the Goose starts its fussing and fuming indicating that it has a item of circumstance which it would like to share with us. And out of the printer, click by magical click, comes the TICKETS to see Phantom of the Opera at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago! OPENING NIGHT with seats in the first row of the Circle Section, center of the house, just above the main floor. Prime real estate!
And then Mother Goose fainted away…
One month later, here she is, glowing from head to toe with anticipation of the show…
I believe that we were most fortunate to see Cooper Grodin in the title role on this opening night. Originally cast as Joseph Buquet and the understudy for the phantom at previous stops and venues along the road, Mr. Grodin was a perfect new Phantom. His amazing energy and haunting voice simultaneously thrilled, frightened and delighted this goose.
Julia Udine was wonderful as Miss Christine Daae, just wonderful. Though I am not a fan of Raoul, I must say that Ben Jacoby totally nailed his character and his singing is really beautiful.
As you know, I am not a professional reviewer of theatrical productions and know next to nothing about Broadway shows and would never claim to be an expert about anything remotely musically dramatic. But I will say here and now that the current production of Phantom of the Opera is a spectacle beyond my wildest dreams.
More lovely than I could ever imagine.
The music, the melodies soar as I knew they would.
The sets were more grand and majestic and more wonderful than anything I had ever seen on the stage.
The phantom’s boat did indeed move miraculously across the stage.
The smokey mirrors made “Masquerade” more surreal than I ever thought possible.
I gasped, I cried, I clapped my hands in wonder like an amazed child at her first play.
Quite possibly, I will never again be impressed with another musical production because the Phantom has spoiled me so terribly — I shall never love again as I have loved that evening. The Music of the Night will haunt me ’til I pass from this world…
Words cannot express, alas they fail me so terribly, as I try to describe the show to you dear and loyal readers. I would tell it from the perspective of a goose, but you could never grasp the glory unless you see it for yourself. It would break my heart to say more — I would never want to steal your joy and ecstasy at seeing and hearing this incredibly marvelous production for yourself.
Only trust a goose when I say, “Do not miss this Phantom of the Opera.”