Orange County Theatre Reviews

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

It’s one of the most well-known musicals of all time: known for being classic, frightening and, of course, beautiful.  Ladies and gentleman, I give you The Phantom of the Opera.  


Think Hunchback of Notre Dame if Quasimodo was overwhelmingly the bad guy.  


Segerstrom-Center-THE-PHANTOM-OF-THE-OPERA-Katie-Travis-as-Christine-Daae-and-Chris-Mann-as-The-Phantom-Photo-Matthew-Murphy (1)

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

The Phantom of the Opera starts its story in a French opera house during the 1880’s, which purportedly has a phantom haunting it for quite some time now. Dancing among the many performers in this opera house is a ballerina named Christine, who seems to have made some remarkable vocal progress lately.   What is the secret behind her sudden improvement?  Who is this phantom that from all accounts is running the show?  What is it he wants? Perhaps most importantly, what is he willing to do to get it?   Each of these questions is eventually answered.

This might be the most beautiful show I’ve seen at the Segerstrom.  In terms of appearance, the scenic and costume designs are just stunning. Antiquated  clothing, sparkling chandeliers, bright masks, and fire make up for any potentially lagging moments.

The previously mentioned (potentially) lagging moments do exist but only briefly.  I have to confess to not always understanding everything being said in the songs, particularly in the songs where the cast sing counterpoint with each other.  This almost doesn’t matter though when we consider the high-quality music and strong acting.  In my case, understanding the context of what is happening is good enough to bypass the need to comprehend every word in every song.  Though I realize this might not be the case for everyone.

If I could change something I think I’d ask the actors to let go a little bit more.  While I realize drama requires a certain amount of restraint, I think the idea behind conserving energy in a show is to be able to let it all out at some point.  Meanwhile, the people I want going crazy with passion–Chris Mann as the Phantom and Katie Travis as Christine–seem a tad too restrained at some of the high points (no pun intended).  

The story is a product of it’s time, but we’re still able to understand that product within the context of today.  If you want to hear some classic songs and see some brilliant scenery, go to The Phantom of the Opera at Segerstrom Theatre.

August 5- 16 




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