laurence connor

Phantom of the Opera Restaged National Tour Review

Here it is folks, my complete review of the “new” re-staged US national tour.  Below the cut you’re going to find a scene-by-scene review as well as overall impressions, observations, and opinions regarding this new staging.  My old school phan cohort, @inkedalchemy​ attended this performance with me and we were honestly trying to stay as open minded and neutral as possible regarding a new look to the classic show.  In general, there were things that we liked, and could see worked into the original production.  We also saw things we did not care for at all.  But despite that, we’ve compiled a thorough review for you all to read and consider.

But before I get started, I will emphasize the fact that this is NOT a game of “WTF do you know,” nor do I wish to start another internet flame fest between those who prefer the new tour and those who prefer the original production.  Let’s all be adults, let’s all be civil, let’s all respect each others’ opinions.  Those who felt I was unfairly judging the new tour before told me I could not have an opinion on it without seeing it in person…well, I went and paid money and did that.  While there were aspects I enjoyed, my overall impression of the production did not change.

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That’s right a School of Rock musical is currently under way. Auditions begin in January, and the performance is expected to premiere December 6, with special previews at Winter Garden on November 2. The plot of the musical will closely follow that of the original movie by Richard Linklater. Check out more details below. 

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“For this restaged and reimagined version of “Phantom,” director Laurence Connor went back to the novel, written by Gaston Leroux in the early 20th century.

The new Phantom is “grandiose and incredible in a different way. There’s a much more human quality to the production. I guess I really wanted to look at the Phantom as a person.” ( X )


It’s strange to read so many reviews of the new Phantom tour lambasting Laurence Connor’s staging as misogynistic (i.e. making the Phantom more brutal and Christine more passive), because I’ve always viewed his Les Mis staging as going out of its way to make the show as feminist as possible.

Then again, the main reason why I’ve thought that is because all the male abusers of women (Bamatabois to Fantine, Thénardier to Éponine, both the Montreuil and Paris pimps to their prostitutes, etc.) are especially brutal in his staging, more so than in any mounting I’ve seen of the original Nunn/Caird production. Since those characters are unquestionably bad guys (not complex and tragic like the Phantom), I assumed that the intent was “See, audience? This treatment of women is wrong!”

But who knows? Maybe the guy just has a fetish for woman-abuse, and whether it feels feminist or misogynistic depends on which show it’s in.

So I saw Evita tonight which featured Sean MacLaughlin, a prior Raoul, as Peron. We chatted for a few minutes afterwards, and I asked if he’d ever go back to Phantom. He said he’d like to, and that brought us to the subject of the tour… I asked if he knew much about it, and he did not, so I told him about some of the new blocking… specifically Christine’s slap. He looked O_O for a moment and laughed saying “No, not the face! Not the face!”

Such a lovely guy. I’d feel bad for him or any other prior PotO actors that join the tour. It’s just so radically different… and not in good ways. I’d love to see Sean back on Broadway, maybe even as Phantom, but please stay away from the tour. Just.. don’t. 

rjdaae said: I had another thought tonight: Connor has been saying that Christine is only 18 in this production—so she’s not just being made more vulnerable by directing her to be physically/emotionally weaker, but also by making her younger. :(

Oh geez. It’s the 2004 movie all over again. :( I mean, it’s not as bad as making her 16/17, but there’s still a big difference between 18 and 21, and in the original production, I get a sense that Christine may even be in her mid-20s. That also makes sense in terms of Grodin playing the Phantom as a man in his 30s (again, ala the 2004 movie).

This would also make sense in terms of Connor/Cammack trying to rope in a “younger” audience. The thing is, the amount of violence that the Phantom displays towards Christine, and Christine’s passive acceptance of it, sends an absolutely awful message to teenage girls! A lot of girls crush hard on Erik (sometimes even to the point of thinking that he can do no wrong), and I can see a tween or teenage girl thinking to herself that that kind of violence is okay because they saw the Phantom do it to Christine, and Christine didn’t put up any sort of a struggle (in fact, she walked right over to him and kissed him afterwards). In the original production, a strong Christine (like Samantha Hill, for instance) makes it clear that the Phantom’s behavior is completely unacceptable; she refuses to take his shit, and renegotiates their relationship on her terms. Once again, Connor demonstrates that he has no idea what he is doing. If he were trying to appeal to a teenage crowd, he shouldn’t have made a Phantom that was so violent that a 30-something year old felt uncomfortable. Smh.

anonymous asked:

Thanks for the link to the review. So what I got from it: the Phantom doesn't care for Christine in this version, ALW and CM seem hellbent on "resurrecting" LND, and that this should really be titled "LND: the Prequel". Very WTH, and Connor is a liar or deluded if he really thinks nothing, nothing on the tour is linked to the sequel.

I have no idea what’s going on in the restaged US tour. In “making it more real” and “doing everything different just because” I feel they’ve sometimes lost track on what’s the core of the story. 

And yes, denying the LND links is just weird. They’re pretty blatant. But it might be that he’s discussed with ALW what’s the “real vision” behind the show, and ALW would of course reply having his most recent interpretation in mind. Not saying it’s how it went down, but it’s plausible and can be an explanation of how LND indirectly got to be represented. 

wibblywobleytimeywimeystuff  asked:

Do phantom tickets really cost around $500 for the front area? How much to you recommend for paying for the US tour? This will be my first show, I been waiting 10 years to see the play version and it's finally coming next year

Hi there! Thanks for your question. No, I don’t think that you will ever pay $500 for a front row ticket to Phantom (at least, hopefully not in this decade). Prices vary a bit from theatre to theatre, but you should probably expect to pay between $100 and $200 for a good seat. When my mother and I saw the US Phantom tour at the Ohio Theatre in Columbus, we sat in the center loge (the front section of the mezzanine), and our tickets cost $200 apiece. But I heard from someone who saw Phantom at the same theatre that they got an orchestra seat for around $100, if I recall correctly.

To put this in perspective with the Broadway production of Phantom, my favorite seat at the Majestic, AA1 (front row, house left aisle), costs about $137, and the most expensive seats at the Majestic cost around $200.

Now, since the US tour will be your first live experience with Phantom, I would recommend that you watch at least a bootleg or two of the original production (West End or Broadway) before you see the tour. GlassPrism has some videos that you can download on her gifts page. I make this recommendation because Cameron Mackintosh and Laurence Connor, who produced and directed the US tour, respectively, did real violence to the production; the new tour is not the same show that has won numerous awards and has been running for nearly 30 years. In short, it is not Phantom (aside from the score), and the direction, the design, and the characterizations have all been hacked apart by the new creative team. Quite honestly, if the US tour had been my first experience with Phantom, I probably would have left the theatre hating the show. Or at least it certainly would not have had the same impact on me as the original production, where I returned to see it again and again (and still do!).

Anyway, that’s my $0.02 for watching the new tour. Please let me know if you have any other questions! I’m happy to answer them.

anonymous asked:

Why do you think Boggess and Karimloo were chosen for the 25th anniversary? Why not use British singers? Was it solely because those two originated LND or did they have big fan bases? (Or was it their chemistry?)

I think it was a mixture of many things.

The director Laurence Connor clearly wanted to add a LND tweak to “Phantom of the Opera” as presented in the RAH concert. Choosing the stars from LND was a wise move to achieve this. Making Raoul more of a douchebag, making Christine’s dressing room like that in LND in London, changing the ending to include the Phantom’s grab around Christine’s neck and having her look longingly back on him while leaving, as to lead up to “Beneath a Moonless Sky”, was other elements added to “sequel up" the original. 

I also think Connor and Cameron Mackintosh had hi-def closeups in mind. They do seem to have gone for the pretty faces, in Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess, in the originally cast Carlotta Kiera Duffy, in Hadley Fraser’s Raoul and also in Daisy Maywood’s Meg. 

A third reason would probably be that Ramin and Sierra has a solid and large fan base (which has quadruppled after the RAH concert) and that it would be a popular choice to pick them. They also work very well together, which would reflect in their performance in POTO. 

A fourth reason would be that Andrew Lloyd Webber also was involved in the casting. He like both leads a lot, and he would probably also be happy for the LND link and for the possibility of indirectly give LND a larger fan base. Remember that many cinemas aired a commercial for the Aussie LND before the concert, and they also mashed up the two in later ads. 

A fifth reason, though, is that they’re both good performers.  

Nigel Richards (s/b), Gina Beck, Simon Bailey - The Final Lair
September 7, 2009; London

Nigel was a man in the right role at the wrong time.

He was hired as the London standby Phantom right when Laurence Connor, international Phantom ruiner, became the resident director. Thus, it was up to Connor to direct Nigel.

Now, If you’ve ever seen David Shannon as The Phantom you’d know how held back and…well plain and boring his performance was. This was Connor. Connor pretty much ruined every Phantom he directed. And thankfully…Nigel realized this. So when it came time for him to perform, instead of doing what he was directed, he did his own thing on the spot. Now if you are like alexielderavenswood and myself, you’ll not only adore the fact that he pretty much gave a giant middle finger to Connor onstage, but that his performance is unique and he acted the bloody hell out of it. This makes his performance an amazing audio experience. I can only imagine what he was like live.

Sadly management did not agree. Sadly in theatre you actually have to do what you’re told. So it came about that Nigel was eventually told: “Either you do what we tell you, or you’re fired”.

Ladies and gentlemen, he took firing over giving a shit performance. Thats both crazy yet…insanely honorable. I mean… dang all hats off to Nigel man. That takes guts.

Now if he had been cast when Sam Hiller or the current director was there, he not only would have probably been kept, he probably would have been treasured at that theatre and, with a little tweaking, bumped up to principle! But oh well.

I say, thankfully we still have our audios! This is one of the only two recordings that exist of him (those may have been his only two shows!) and they’re a very interesting item to listen to.

So take it:

Nigel Richards (s/b), Gina Beck, Simon Bailey, Barry James, Gareth Snook, Rebecca Lock, Nicky Adams, Rohan Tickell, Emma Harris
September 7, 2009; London

First performance of the 2009-2010 cast.

Enjoy :)

Made with SoundCloud


Found by perry332 on the Broadway World website:

The Crucible won the plaudits for the straight drama categories, with Richard Armitage, Samantha Colley and Adrian Schiller taking the awards. Anna Madeley has to share Best Leading Actress in a Play, though - with Gillian Anderson, recognised for her performance in A Streetcar Named Desire.


Best Choreography in a New Production of a Musical - Bob Avian & Geoffrey Garratt - Miss Saigon

Best Costume Design in a New Production of a Play or Musical - Andreane Neofitou - Miss Saigon

Best Direction of a New Production of a Musical - Laurence Connor - Miss Saigon

Best Direction of a New production of a Play - Yael Farber - The Crucible

Best Featured Actor in a New Production of a Musical - Kwang-Ho Hong - Miss Saigon

Best Featured Actor in a New Production of a Play - Adrian Schiller - The Crucible

Best Featured Actress in a New Production of a Musical - Rachelle Ann Go - Miss Saigon

Best Featured Actress in a New Production of a Play - Samantha Colley - The Crucible

Best Leading Actor in a New Production of a Musical - Jon Jon Briones - Miss Saigon

Best Leading Actor in A New Production of a Play - Richard Armitage - The Crucible

Best Leading Actress in a New Production of a Musical - Eva Noblezada - Miss Saigon

Best Leading Actress in a New Production of a Play - Anna Madeley - The Crucible and Gillian Anderson - A Streetcar Named Desire - The Young Vic

anonymous asked:

Hi there, hope you're having a wonderful day so far. :) Ok, so the whole tour MotN...why did Laurence Connor decide to make this iconic scene even more awkward (aka destroy it even more)? I couldn't stop laughing at it and it made me feel extremely awkward when the Phantom pulled out that stupid blindfold. At first, I thought the show from there was gonna turn into, uh, something else. I want to send this restaged tour back to the dark recesses from whence it came.

Ah, yes, I call it the “50 Shades of Phantom” blindfold, in an attempt to laugh to keep from crying…

I have no idea why Laurence Connor decided to ruin the iconic staging of Music of the Night. I can only think that maybe he wanted put his stamp on it, make something new and controversial that he would be remembered for. Well, he’s certainly done that, though maybe not in the way that he’d envisioned…

I do know that Connor has been trying to get his hooks into MOTN for a while now. He was the in-house director in the West End a few years ago (Hal Prince needs people who can oversee the production there, since he obviously can’t be in London all the time), and while Connor was there, he tried to get David Shannon to play MOTN like a music lesson. According to what I’ve read, Shannon evidently chafed against Connor’s direction, and did not have a particularly enjoyable time playing the Phantom because of it.

I wish more than anything that we could get the old Music Box Tour or Raoul Tour back so that we could have a real US touring production of Phantom again. For the foreseeable future, however, this “spectacular new” tour is what we’ve got, and so unless people can make it to Broadway (or see a bootleg), this will be the version of MOTN that a lot of people are familiar with.

As I was watching the Phantom tour last month, there was a girl, maybe about twelve or thirteen years old, who was sitting behind me in the theatre. It was her first time seeing Phantom, and she was very excited. Before the curtain rose, she was humming the music and talking with her parents about how happy she was to be seeing the show. I was thirteen when I first saw Phantom (the Music Box Tour, starring Franc D’Ambrosio), and it has obviously had a profound impact on my life. I felt so angry that *this* was her first experience with the show, and that her parents had probably paid $600 for the family to see the production (my ticket cost $200, and I assume that their tickets were the same price). $600 to see a man blindfold a woman and then aimlessly stumble around the stage while passionlessly singing at her (and that’s not even addressing the mangled Final Lair). Six. Hundred. Dollars. Laurence Connor — what were you thinking???

anonymous asked:

I want to know just what exactly are the LND references in the restaged Phantom tour. I have heard of a meaner Raoul, but I don't know about the rest. Could you do a list or photoset? Thank you.

I’m not up for this one. Anyone else? 

(it’s hard to show in photos how overall moods and insinuations have been carried over from LND. To me it’s really blatant at times, but I’m not up for trying to explain why in photos. If anyone else is, feel free!) 

adamschoales  asked:

That post on Las Vegas/New Tour was fascinating. I always assumed it was a monetary thing, but also likely a Macintosh thing. Prince's original was a masterpiece, and so the Vegas production (updating but not fixing what ain't broken) makes sense. Connor's version (with a Phantom with a Justin Bieber haircut) just feels like it's different for different sake (and to make it fit more with LND's style). Don't fix what ain't broken bud.

In large I agree. The tour, whereas the intentions are good, have a lot of moments where I suspect they changed things just to avoid copyright infringements/royalty payments to Hal Prince, rather than them thinking these changes were to the better. 

THAT SAID, I do think the tour has its merits. I would tweak back several things, but as far as revisiting POTO goes it has interesting moments. 

As for Vegas, I think both money and license were reasons for why it shut down. But to have Hal Prince, usually not complaining loudly, comment on the London office in an interview, made me suspect money was not the main issue as first stated. This is the exact quote: 

“We all knew it could have been more, no question. But there are circumstances that prohibited that from going on, contractual with the original London management, and I regret that some”

anonymous asked:

my parents are planning on taking me to the u.s tour, and up until recently i've been so excited to see my favorite musical live...but now with all the reviews i've been reading and the general reaction people have had with it, im nervous and dont want to see my favorite musical butchered the first time i see it live- any suggestions as to what i should do?

Hi Anon! I would recommend that if your family is in any way in a position to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, that you see it there instead.

However, if this is not feasible (as I know that it is not for most people), and you still want to see the Phantom tour with your family, I would recommend that you watch the 25th Anniversary Concert with them first. Although this is not an accurate representation of the show, per se, it more closely maintains the intent of the original production.

I recommend that you watch this production with your family first because one person messaged me saying that seeing the new tour led their parents to question their taste in theatre, and that it was difficult to explain to their parents that this was not at all the show that they were expecting to see.

Read my review and Phantines’ review of the new tour. This will let you know scene-by-scene what you are in for. You may also want to let your parents read these reviews, as well, so that they are prepared for some of the more gratuitous and disturbing scenes.

Then, visit GlassPrism’s channel to download some recordings of Phantom as it is supposed to be performed. I’d recommend watching these after you see the tour to cleanse your palate.

Finally, form your own opinions of the tour. If you feel inclined, write a review of it. I found writing my review to be very helpful in terms of digesting my experience of seeing it. For me, even though I disliked the new Phantom tour, I found it to be quite elucidating in terms of understanding why the original production of Phantom works as well as it does. IMO, the new tour is not a standalone piece of theatre, but it is very interesting when compared and contrasted to the original production.

Please let me know if you have any further questions!

anonymous asked:

Saw the Connor co-directed Les Miz in Toronto this weekend. Let me tell ya... this US tour should be interesting. Les Miz's equivilent of headache acting was during solos just randomly stepping forward or backward for "emphasis". What a hack.


Sorry… but the mental images…. Epic.