The Phantom Experience

From age 13 when my friend Erin’s family saved pennies in a jar to go to The Phantom of the Opera, I’ve dreamed of seeing the Broadway show. The more I found out about the plot of the musical however, the less I cared about the actual story and the more I wanted to see it simply for the music and the spectacle. Okay, let me be honest. I wanted to pay $50 just to watch the dramatic chandelier drop.

So today Dan and I paid the pennies from our jar and we watched the chandelier fall… in slow motion supported by super-thick wires. The way I remember hearing about it, the chandelier came crashing down on the audience, barely missing people’s heads and falling so fast that everyone screamed in delighted terror. There was no unscripted screaming in the theatre today as we listened to the hydraulics lowering the giant prop smoothly to the stage. No terror at all.

I would have walked out right then and there if it had been intermission and taken a long disappointed potty break out of spite if it weren’t for the fact that the music was so beautiful it made me cry. Now to be honest, I should put the tears in context.

I also cried when I saw Reba in concert… and Dave Matthews… and Dido. I cried at the So You Think You Can Dance live show and last week I cried at the gym when a muted commercial for The Biggest Loser: Family Edition came on one of the monitors.

But still, the music was gorgeous despite the egregious lack of diction from the chorus (we could not understand a word they were singing) and the pathetically un-near-deathness of the chandelier crash. And I got to wear some hot shoes and hold Dan’s hand (mostly because of the love and only partly because of the spiky hotness of the shoes).

The sets and costumes were gorgeous, making me want to light a thousand candles, buy a smoke machine and sew a velvet cloak with a hood to wear whenever Dan and I are cavorting around in underground tunnels bursting into song. I mean, Christine wears a hooded velvet cloak and “strange angel” psychopaths are swarming her practically all the time. What’s not to love about that?

The one question that haunted me as I left the theatre was — what did “keeping your hand at the level of your eyes” have to do with the price of eggs? Would shielding his eyes really have kept Raoul from the noose? Honestly?

Coming soon: The Phantom Experience — According to Dan

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16 Responses to The Phantom Experience

  1. I haven’t seen Phantom live since high school! I’d love to see it again, and I’m extremely jealous that you got to see it.

    The “hand at the level of your eye” doesn’t keep someone from the noose, but it keeps the noose from being tightened around your neck. If your hand it through the noose, you can probably escape, or at least escape being asphyxiated.

  2. Terina says:

    i saw phantom back when i was either in middle school or high school. our YW group went. we were in nose bleed seats. but it was downtown LA. i don’t have many memories of it, other than the music was good.

    i think i was a little young to get really emotional about it. on the other hand, if i ever can see les miserables i would probably cry. my mom went to see joseph when donnie osmond was joseph. she wore the joseph coat she made downtown LA. and then who did she happen to run into, but brother osmond himself. who gave her a kiss on the cheek and signed her coat. so glad i wasn’t there to be embarrassed. but these musicals do something to you.

    where is a picture of your shoes?

  3. Heffalump says:

    I think having his hand at the level of his eyes was to make it so his arm was in the way and the noose couldn’t get around his neck.
    I have never seen Phantom other than the movie, but I saw Les Miserables and it was Awesome!

  4. I saw Phantom MANY years ago and was impressed with all the fanfare and then when I saw the movie a few years back, I was surprised by how dark the story really is. But, yes, the music is beautiful and I’m glad you got the chance to go. Hey man, Phantom, monster trucks, McDonalds, whatever… congratulations on a night out, period!

  5. Janel says:

    Ha ha! Almost thou persuadest me to sew a velvet cloak with a hood. Or at least break out the Phantom soundtrack. (And I totally agree about the chandelier).

  6. Rebecca says:

    Never saw it on stage. Always wanted to. Now I’m not so sure. (Truly, why ELSE would you pay Big Money if not to see some spetacular wreckage? It’s like a sophisticated demolition derby. With hot shoes.)

    However, I’m passionate about the movie. Have you seen? You must see. I always cry during the opening scene, with the music building up through the scales and the chords soaring and the blood rushing and it’s like a religious experience, man. Plus Raoul is hot.

    The whole “hand at the level of the eyes” thing. Doesn’t REALLY make sense til you read the book. Which I have. Which I wouldn’t recommend. Christine is an annoying cry-baby and Raoul a whiny little playboy with no backbone. The book did explain a lot of ‘huh?’ moments about the play, but you can always look them up on some cliff’s notes website.

    Must. See. The. Movie.


  7. Sketchy says:

    Phantom! I used to be able to sing Christine’s part…I worked really hard to hit those notes.

  8. Sketchy says:

    I read the book too. No, you probably don’t want to experience it.

  9. Pam in Utah says:

    Oh! Good for you! I’ve seen Phantom, twice, both at Capitol Theatre. You cannot imagine how different the two performances were! The first was magical, seen with good friends and my sweetie next to me. The music was AWE INSPIRING, and it was sooooo cool. The second time years later I took my daughter who had been too young back then to see it hoping it would be magical for her too. UMMMM yeah. The Christine character was o u t of t u n e. It turned out to be very fun, because both of us could tell it was really out of tune and we looked at eat other and laughed. Wished it hadn’t cost so much money to see a funny rendition of it. I was paying for magical and got comical. Oh well. Glad yours was great!

  10. Mom of boys says:

    What a great memory you have! I hardly remember that and we’re the ones that saved our pennies in the “Phantom Jar”. I loved the show and I do remember shedding a tear or two at the end – and maybe everything (including a chandeliere drop) is more dramatic when you’re only 13!

  11. holly says:

    How sad – I did the saving pennies thing and saw it in high school. But the chandelier really did plummet very suddenly and the whole theater gasped. I saw it again a few years later and it was so sudden I gasped in shock again, even though I knew it was coming. You guys got jipped.

  12. maggie says:

    I ALSO cried during the Biggest Loser teaser. I am a such a sap.

    Haven’t seen Phantom. Went to see it in London and when the chandelier was supposed to come down, nothing happened. Then some guy came on stage and said he was sorry, but the power was out. Oops.

  13. You have me laughing about your tears thing. You sound like me, I’m such a sap! I cried watching the Olympics. Just about any time they played the National Anthem. I’m such a baby.

  14. FarmWife says:

    Once upon a time, I LIVED for Phantom. It all began in the 8th grade & still hasn’t died. I also cried when I saw it….my senior year in high school. 14 years ago!!

    I do wish the chandelier crash would have been more dramatic for you, but I adored it. I would give my right kidney to see it again….well, maybe not the whole thing…at least a quarter of it.

  15. Rachel says:

    De-lurking to tell you that the “hand at the level of you eyes” makes more sense if you do it. Make a fist. Hold you arm up, with your elbow bent, and bring your fist to the level of your eyes. If someone were to try and throw a lasso around your neck with your hand at this position the arm would keep the lasso from tightening around your neck and strangling you. If you haven’t seen it yet, you must watch the movie. Much of the soundtrack that I listened to as a teenager (because I’ve never had the privilege or pleasure of watching it on stage) didn’t make sense until I saw the movie. The timeline is a little different than the stage production, but the story is just as good. Don’t read the book, you’ll be sorry.
    Okay, back to lurking. By the way, I’m catching up, so keep up the great work-out routine. It’s hard, but once you get in the groove, it’s so incredibly rewarding. Don’t even let yourself talk yourself out of it.

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