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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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.

cameron mackintosh: well i produced all these shows in the eighties and nineties that were big hits then but not so much now… what can i do?

laurence connor: hire me to make them shitty

cameron mackintosh: jolly good idea

anonymous asked:

When does Christine try to commit suicide on the rooftop? I'm just interested, as I haven't heard of it before!

As Katie Knight-Adams did it: 

When Raoul sings “Christine… Christine…” and this is echoed by the Phantom, Christine and Raoul runs around at the rooftop, like they’re trying to locate where the voice comes from. Now, KKA ran across the stage, with the back to the audience, standing at what the set indicate is the edge of the rooftop. She then appeared to lean forward, arms outstretched, about to let herself fall to the pavement underneath, only stopped by Raoul yelling “Christine!!!”.

KKA’s Christine clearly meant to leap off that roopftop. Her successor, Rachel Barrell, did it less obvious. She stopped, appeared to look down and toy with the idea, without really going for it, and clinging more to the sculpture next to her: 

This is the version that stuck around for some time; I don’t think they do it anymore. But the “suicide attempt” returned with a bang to the restaged tour, where there is an equally obvious attempt. In the words of fdelopera

“Christine’s attempted suicide is in this version, where she walks over to the edge of the stage and contemplates jumping into the orchestra pit. Then she collapses to the stage, and Raoul kneels down several meters upstage right of her, and they sing like that for a while” ( X )

I wonder if Laurence Connor was the in-house director at Her Majesty’s Theatre when KKA was principal Christine? It might explain why Christine’s suicide attempt was so underlined both there and in the restaged tour.
London Les Miserables is in DANGER!

Why, why, why… With a fandom this big…are people not talking about THIS?

Our original London Les Miserables is, it seems in danger of being replaced by the reimagined version at or around the 30th anniversary.

Please, please, please read this interview with Cameron Mackintosh and see for yourself… A key piece is this…

“In the long-term, Mackintosh thinks it’s Les Misérables that will outlive us all. “It’s as potent in a class-room as it is on a Broadway stage.” Its revamped 25th anniversary version is being staged in 10 countries and it looks set to supplant the originating London incarnation when the 30th anniversary comes round next year.

Refreshing the look, feel and sound of his core portfolio obviously makes sense. This new version of Miss Saigon, directed by Laurence Connor (who also co-directed the new Les Misérables), will be grittier than the Nick Hytner-directed original. “We’ve been inspired by what went before but it’s less operatic, more authentic, more real.”

Please guys, if you value your original Les Mis please signal boost and sign the hell out of the petition that has been set up to voice opposition!

This is in no way bashing the reimagined version… I would love very much to see it, but most certainly not at the expense of our London original which is the only original format left.

The changes are creeping in already… Apparently the 24601 convicts look has now switched to the shaved head rather than the scraggly wig with the recent cast change.

Let’s do something while we can!

Please reblog, please tweet this, please Facebook this etc but most importantly please SIGN.

If we don’t act now it’ll be no good looking back later on and thinking ‘I wish we’d done something’.

anonymous asked:

Honestly can say that I have seen the tour at least 50 times and the phantom has never once straddled Christine on the bed. U sure? As far as him being violent in lair blocking and it doesn't make sense because Christine doesn't stand up to him, what do u expect her to do? She's 17! She wants out of there! Christine in the tour is much MORE feisty than other productions! Finally, when the old guy is feeling her up from behind in the original, I find that pretty creepy! don't u?? just sayin…

You’ve seen the new US Phantom tour 50 times??? WHY???

I mean, I’ve seen Hal Prince’s staging much more than 50 times, but Laurence Connor??? Why in the world would you want to see the new US tour staging that much? With that money, you could take a lot of trips to Broadway!

Yes, in the staging that I saw, Grodin’s Phantom straddled Udine’s Christine after he threw her onto the bed and pinned her down. Both my mother and I saw him do it. Now, it may have been that this blocking was the result of clumsiness on Grodin’s part, since he also nearly sat on Udine’s head when he tried to get off of her, but the fact is that he did straddle her, and it did look like he was about to sexually assault her.

Next, Laurence Connor has stated that Christine in his production is 18, not 17, so I’m not sure where you’re getting that number (unless you’ve been reading the Lofficier translation D: or watching the 2004 movie). This is another one of Connor’s failures in this production, since Christine is supposed to be AT LEAST 20, and in Hal Prince’s staging, she is portrayed as being in her 20s.

Next, as I’ve written previously, the reason why it is offensive that Christine is so passive and submissive in the Final Lair (as well as in MOTN and STYDI) is that there is supposed to be a balance of power between the Phantom and Christine. This is the way that Leroux wrote his novel, and it is something that Hal Prince understood in his staging. Laurence Connor has made the Phantom a violent sociopath and Christine a passive victim, and in doing so, has imbalanced these two characters. The story of Phantom just doesn’t work with a violent Phantom and a meek, timid Christine, because Christine wins her freedom by *standing up* to the Phantom. She agrees to marry him not because she is submitting to him, but because she recognizes that in order to save Raoul, whom she loves, as well as the lives of many other people, she must sacrifice herself. But not only this, once Christine has made this decision, she has the goodness and compassion to show the Phantom the only scrap of care and tenderness he has ever known in his life. The Phantom is so overcome by Christine’s bravery, strength, and kindness that he realizes he can’t keep her there with him, and he lets her go. That is the story that Leroux wrote, and it is the narrative that Hal Prince maintained in his staging. Laurence Connor does not understand these basic tenets of the Phantom story, and instead makes his restaging one of Christine playing the submissive to the Phantom’s dom. This is why I’ve dubbed Laurence Connor’s production “50 Shades of Phantom.”

As for Christine being “feisty” in the new tour, the only thing she does that would qualify under that definition is slap Raoul (which is out of character, I might add). :/ She is in no way “feisty” around the Phantom, as she is in Leroux’s novel and in Hal Prince’s staging.

THIS is Christine being feisty in Hal Prince’s production, both literally and figuratively standing up to the Phantom and using her body as a shield to protect Raoul.

Finally, again, I can only assume that you are basing your knowledge of ALW’s Phantom on the 2004 movie if you refer to MOTN as “the old guy feeling her up from behind.” As Michael Crawford has said, the blocking on “floating, falling, etc.” must never appear lewd. The Phantom never actually touches Christine with his hand as he draws it up her body. Gerry Butler’s Phantom is the one who actually felt Christine up from behind (which is one of the many ways that Joel Schumacher misunderstood and misrepresented the Phantom/Christine dynamic in his movie).

But as to your question, while the blocking of “Floating, falling…” is supposed to be both sensual and disturbing, it is coming from a place of the Phantom trying to connect with Christine, not to dominate her. Unlike in Connor’s production, where MOTN is all about the Phantom’s power trip over Christine (he uses a freaking S/M blindfold on her, for goodness sakes), Hal Prince’s MOTN is about the Phantom asking Christine to meet him on his level, and to see beyond the world that she has known.

And, yes, I would take a thousand “floating, falling” arm-pillows any day over the Phantom threatening to break Christine’s neck, choking her, and then throwing her on his bed and crawling on top of her. There is a HUGE difference between awkward sensuality and attempted rape. I’m sorry if you can’t see that difference.


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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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.

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. 

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!) 

rjdaae  asked:

Ugh, thank you. I cringed so badly when I saw a Leroux quote get posted on those gifs. :/

Yes, me too. D:

Please, folks, you need to understand that violent tour Phantom Leroux-accurate.

Please don’t make the comparison between Gaston Leroux’s novel and the true monstrosity that Laurence Connor created.

If you have any questions about this, I encourage you to read my review of the US Phantom tour, and my comments about why Laurence Connor’s staging is not Leroux-accurate.

Thank you.