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

change.org
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.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/10842020/Cameron-Mackintosh-I-have-been-successful-beyond-anyones-wildest-dreams.html

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’.

SCHOOL OF ROCK COMING TO BROADWAY

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.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: an old school phantom fans perspective on the new tour


I’ve been a fan for 21 years now, seen the show 92 times and 16  different men behind the mask. Through some urging by a friend I decided to give the new tour one shot. I’m going to preface this review by saying these are really just my random thoughts and opinions and I will not be going through the show scene by scene. Lets face it, this tour has been part of the public conscious for three years now, if you don’t know what it looks like, there are ample bootlegs out there for you to view. The SF leg of the tour seems to have a massive cast rotation built into it, because as its listed in the playbill, all the understudies for The Phantom, Andre, Piangi, and Carlotta have scheduled performances at this stop. My cast was:
The CastThe Phantom: Eric Ruiz (u/s) Christine: Katie TravisRaoul: Storm LinebergerCarlotta: Jacquelynne FontaineFirmin: Jay Lusteck(u/s) Andre: Edward StaudenmayerPiangi:  Frank Viveros
Mme. Giry: Anne KanengeiserMeg: Morgan Cowling
The Good
The Music: The music sounded as lush and sumptuous as ever. I had overheard front of house staff talking at intermission, over half the pit worked in the SF sitdown in the 90s They appear to be using the Vegas orchestrations for most of the show. The only thing I didn’t care for in the way of music was the rearranged exit music. It is now ordered from start to finish: Masquerade, Angel of Music, All I Ask of You, Prima Donna, and Chandelier crash. Still the music sounds excellent.
Eric Ruiz as The Phantom: Not being a fan of Chris Mann’s voice, this was a surprise. Eric Ruiz has an excellent voice with a wonderful lower registered. His upper register is a tad weak. He is also a wonderful actor who is sadly limited by the confines of the new direction  and blocking. I can’t help but wonder how good he would be if he were a replica production.
Anne Kanengeiser: I had seen her before. She was an understudy Giry on the 3rd National Tour who covered Nancy Hess’s vacation the last time the show was in SF. Still one of best Madame Girys I’ve ever seen. Shes able to retain the air of mystery about her and acts both petrified and awed in Giry’s tale.
Il Muto: A lot of the humor has been put back into Il Muto. The lines that fall flat in NY and London are played for laughs as in the old tour. Their Don Atillio is hilarous and second only to John Kuther.
Joseph Buquet’s death: this was my favorite part of the whole show. The Phantom sneaks up behind him and strangles him in a scene strangley reminiscent of the 1943 Claude Rains film. In the middle of it Buquet is grotesquely hoisted up in midair. I actually felt it was more disturbing than the hanging in the Las Vegas version of the show.

Chandelier Crash: While i detest the look of the chandelier in this production(i don’t like the regency style), I did enjoy the crash. It falls with a speed somewhere between London and Vegas and sprays fake glass out all over which i thought was an interesting touch.  The procissnium breaking apart and the curtain falling down seemed out of place to me. I get why they did it, but at the same time if you were to cut a chandelier down, it’s not going to cause THAT much destruction. For a production that is “realer and grittier” than the original, that is an awful lot of distruction.
The Bad
Jacquelynne Fontaine: Her Carlotta is played for the humor. Which normally i would like, many Carlottas have been able to massively play up the humor and pull it off. But Jacquelynne’s characterization comes off more as cartoon diva than anything else in a performances strangely reminiscent of Minnie Driver.

Both the Managers: They seemed bored as if they were sleep walking through the show. Their attempts as humor and the way they interact with each other is a Firandre shippers dream come true.
Katie Travis: Her Christine seemed to lack any emotional weight. She almost seemed like she was trying to do a knock off version of Sierra Boggess. Vocally she is a tad shrill at times and rather off pitch. She too seemed like she was sleeping her way through the performance.
The UGLY

The Overall Production Design:
I get what they were driving at, they were trying to make it look more like the Paris Opera, but the effect it has is of making it look like something your local college production hobbled together. It looks cheap and plastic. I don’t know what was up with there need to fill spaces with so much clutter. The way the drum style set is designed also limits space for scenes such as the managers scene as well as the graveyard and Don Juan.It kept making me thing Laurence Connors alter ego is really Roger Debris.  I was sitting on the side aisle in the second row  and over half of those scenes were cut off. If you do go sit as center as possible and no closer than the 4th row as the deck is almost twice as high as the 3rd national tours was.   I will give them one small compliment in this department, the stairs as part of the descent into the lair was very well done and looked cool. The room of mirrors for Masquerade was completely uninspired and looked like something Joel Schumacher wishes he’s dreamed up. The lighting over all was very washed out and devoid of tone, much like the 04 film it was BRIGHT.
Storm Linenberger: His voice was unpleasant and his acting was so bad, that his Raoul landed somewhere between TMG’s Raoul and Hadley Fraser’s. I shouldn’t get the feeling that Raoul is just using Christine to serve a means to an end and not as a lover and his sweetheart. Of course that could be due to the next point.
The Direction and Blocking: A lot of the issues I had came down to direction and blocking. In the Managers scenes as well as the graveyard this was particularly evident. The blocking was almost non existent because the stage was so crowded for the managers scene. In the graveyard, the Phantom is on the same level as both Raoul and Christine. Raoul punches the Phantom in the face and the Phantom proceeds to chase him around the stage with fireballs and his Tim the enchanterer hands . The book changes here make this whole scene seem like its out of a badly written romance novel. Music of the Night is now directed as a lesson on music/S&M blindfold bondage session that lacks any creativity. Don’t even get me started on the new PONR. They took what was a beautifully subtlely sexy scene and blew it up till  Christine is basically nothing more then a table dancer.  My biggest issues were in the final lair. Mainly when the Phantom grabs Christine and chokes her and acts like he’s going to snap her neck. The other issue i took with that scene was the nonexistent interaction between Christine and the Phantom in returning the ring. I mean really? That just left me cold.
To sum it all up: the tour has some hints of brilliance in it. But ultimately is vastly outpaced by the far superior original. Like it or not, this show is now part of the Phantom lexicon. I’m not opposed to non replica productions of Phantom, but they have to be well thought out and have some effort put into them. All i can say is thank god I have a New York trip in three weeks to blast this memory from my mind.  This was just a half assed attempt to hobble together a show to line the pockets of Cameron Mackintosh. So much for him wanting whatever production of Phantom people saw to be the same quality as you get in London or New York. What upsets me the most, this is the show people across America are seeing and thinking that this is what has been running for nearly 30 years(trust me even though it says new above the title, a lot of the audience didn’t realize it.) Cameron you sold out and not for the better. “ A new phantom for the 21st century”. Then again I suppose there is some truth in that. This Phantom reflects the times we live in. Cheap and emotionally vapid, all flash and no substance.