'PHANTOM' Casts a Spell at The Westchester Broadway Theatre

Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2018 By: Renee Wallace Source: Plateful of Goodness

 "Phantom of the Opera" is Broadway's longest-running show in history, and for good reason.

But another beloved adaptation of Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel, "The Phantom of the Opera" now takes the stage at the Westchester Broadway Theatre. "PHANTOM" was written by Arthur Kopit, with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston who were the Tony Award-winning collaborators for the Broadway Musical "Nine".
 
In the '80s Kopit and Yeston's PHANTOM" was planned for a run on Broadway. When rights to the novel became part of the public domain, other producers were able to bring this story to the stage. Andrew Lloyd Weber created his own version which became a smash hit in London and quickly made its way to Broadway. 
 
"PHANTOM" has been coined "the greatest hit to never be produced on Broadway". 

"PHANTOM" is not to be confused with Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera", which is currently running on Broadway. Both shows are based on the same Gaston LeRoux novel, with the Webber version being more like an opera, completely sung. The Yeston/Kop­it "PHANTOM" is more of a traditional Broadway Musical with dialogue and songs throughout. Melodie de Paris and Home were our personal favorite musical numbers in the show. 

The story revolves around the central character of a man named Erik, (also known as the Phantom) who was born and raised in the catacombs under the Paris Opera House. Through a series of circum­stances, he takes on as a pupil a young woman named Christ­ine, who has been a street singer. She has a natural talent and a beautiful voice, but she lacks the special training to perform in an Opera company. He agrees to take her on as a student with certain conditions, the main one being that she will never see his face. After a lot of hard work, she eventually auditions for the company and is not only accepted but is given the opportunity to play a principal part in an Opera. Without realizing it, they fall in love with each other. The relationship becomes obsessive and impossible, leading to a dramatic conclusion.

For me, it is the set design that makes this performance so enchanting. This complex set included a rising floor, a simulated lake created by fog and even a swinging chandelier. The high-quality costumes, complex set, captivating music and sensational performance allowed "PHANTOM" to rival any current Broadway musical. 

While the entire cast is extremely talented, Matthew Billman (as Erik; The Phantom) and Kayleen Seidl's (Christine Daaé) performance elevated this musical to a new level. Especially Seidl's powerful voice- my jaw nearly hit the ground every time she hit an impressive note.

Every moment of "PHANTOM" was extremely entertaining and I plan to re-watch this soon in the near future.

Westchester Broadway Theatre provides a three-course meal before the performance of each show. More information is available on their website. "PHANTOM" runs from September 13th - November 25th, 2018 and returns on December 27th - January 27th, 2019.