Written by 5:55 am Costa Mesa, Musical, Review, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Uncategorized

Quasimodo Gone Bad: The Phantom of the Opera @ Segerstrom Center of the Arts in Costa Mesa – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

It’s one of the most well-known musicals of all time: known for being frightening and, of course, beautiful. Ladies and gentlemen, 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 1880s, 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 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 when we consider 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’d ask the actors to let go 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 its time, but we can still understand that product within today’s context. If you want to hear classic songs and see brilliant scenery, go to The Phantom of the Opera at Segerstrom Theatre.

August 5- 16 




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