August 28th, 2004

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Where: Broadway
When: August 28th, 2004
It seemed to be understudy day. We had David Geschen as Phantom (which I was at first very upset about as an adoring fan of Hugh's) Carrington Vilmont as Raoul, Carly Blake Sebouhian as Meg, Kenneth Kantor as Firmin and numerous smaller parts like Don Attilio and LeFevre as understudies. I'll admit, I wasn't as deeply moved by them as the previous cast I'd seen on broadway (Panaro, Hanson, Cudia) but I did enjoy it immensely.

The Auction went smoothly and I instantly realized once it had started how you feel as if you are right up there with them when you sit close. We were 3rd row center. The auctioneer spoke very showly and didn't say "fig-uh ofamon-kee" like on the OCR which was too bad as I'm so amused by that. When the overture started I thought I might have a heart attack it was so beautiful. That moment when it flew over my head I could barely breathe. smile.gif

The whole Hannibal scene was wonderful. I didn't take my eyes off the dancers waiting for Christine to come on. Did I see Julie doing pointe? She is very beautiful. Let my say right now that she completely made the show for me. She was so vulnerable and sweet, then became strong and troubled and sang wonderfully. She completely became the part and I don't know if anyone could live up to her. She's grown since last I saw her. Last time I didn't like the amount of vibrato she used, but she completely changed my mind this time. Maybe it was because I had grown more used to her voice but I didn't think once that she was off. She portrayed an amazing Christine. Julie Hanson's a new hero of mine. wink.gif
The whole Piangi elephant thing was wonderful, I continued to laugh after everyone stopped. Then when he follows Carlotta out of the room with his nose in the air I laughed again. One of my favorite parts of the show. He was pretty short, I loved it.
I noticed Christine's costume change in the back, how they swept off and on her skirt in an instant. It was very exciting to watch.

Angel of Music was just as I expected. Nothing all that memorable. Except that Raoul continued to be as foppish a Roaul as possible. The way he said his lines was past the point of being annoyed with Raoul, you just loved him.When the mask appeared I was surprised at how low it was. He turned out to be not all that much taller than Christine. When Geschen first started singing I whispered to my sister that if I hadn't known better I would have thought it was Hugh Panaro.

Once Geschen got into the title song I stopped thinking that. His voice is very beautiful, but didn't have those wonderful characteristics that Hugh does. He didn't hold certain notes longer, though he did do the almost speaking "grasp it, sense it" in MotN. Julie fell very gracefully onto the floor and the look he gave her there was priceless. Kinda like "oh no, now what do I do?" He was seductive enough, didn't fully do the Portcullis thing, but he did use his hands. I always thought there should be a pause between the last note of PotO and MotN, to have a deeper impact.

The way Geschen played the organ was wonderful. He kinda stood and looked really furious at it while he banged on the keys. It was so much shorter than Hugh it had to be pretty different. The unmasking was exciting. I liked how he pulled his bosy along the floor towards her. Then right before he says "come we must return" it looked like he was going to kiss her. Do they normally do that? After she gives back that mask they stared at each other for along time, then he moved in towards her.

Magical Lasso was cute, I hadn't noticed before that you can see Phantom dragging Christine up from the stage in the backround.

Notes and Prima Donna were great, as usual. I really love all the harmonizing, one of my favorite things about the show. Madame Giry has a wonderful voice! She out did Carlotta alot of the time. She was animated and loud and I loved her best out of the group. Managers could have been alittle funnier, or alittle more enthusiastic but I loved them anyway.

Il Muto had always been one of my favorites. Julie is beyond adorable in this scene. When she's dusting and her dress swooshs back and forth! I love it. I really loved this whole scene. Carlotta when she hears the Phantom, Christine when she hears the Phantom. How they try and start over but she hasn't got her wig anymore or her skirt. They were great together those two. Carlotta waving her hands at Christine to kiss them, and Christine looking all around. The costumes are also amazing. Carlotta could have done more croaks, she did about three.

Well Raoul showed his fruitiness again in All I Ask of You. They were very cute together. He has a nice voice and was very energetic. I hadn't liked him awhole lot until the middle of this scene. At one point he seemed to feel the need to wip his cape about him and in one swift move get onto his knee. Now I'm not very good at not laughing when I shouldn't be, especially when I hear someone else laughing. I had to hold my face in my hands and have my eyes tear up so as not to make a sound an disterb other people, but OH MY GOSH that was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. He was so determined and happy on his face. After that moment I was a a true Roaul fan. Maybe not for the right reasons, but even so. wink.gif Hmm I think they kissed one extra time. They were the sweetest gentlest kisses, (showed a huge difference to the finale kiss) barely touching each other at all, but doing it repeatedly. She giggled and he laughed and it was great.

When Phantom appeared from behind the statue he looked so hurt. So heartbreaking. But he didn't change much from there. The (what is it called?) statue seemed to be swinging alittle too much for my liking and I didn't blame him at all for clinging onto it. He kinda just peered out while he cried (again, extremely heart breaking.) His last line was angry, just not nearly as angry as Hugh. When the chandelier fell I was terrified, it cam so close! Christine is so close to it even after she is pulled away and that was in the last moment. All very dramatic.

Now. On to ACT TWO:

Masquerade was of course beautiful. I barely breathed while they all sang the last part of it on the staircase. I tried to use the binoculars here but there was just too much to watch. I noticed all the details on the costumes and my goodness they're wonderful. Meg was very cute here. And Roaul looked extremely happy, as usual. I watched Phantom through the binoculars when he was at the bottom and when he disappeared I jumped it was so exciting and I had comepletely forgotten that it happened.

Notes and Twisted Every Way were very well done. I like how they rotate and mingle while the Phantom speaks over them. Maybe it was an off day for Carlotta (though she was very funny) but Madame Giry kept over powering her. Again Julie Hanson was adorable and stood out from everyone else.

Rehearsal for Don Juan wasn't anything special but I just love this scene. I love the director or piano player or whatever he is. The "five six seven!" beginning said really fast.

I watched Julie's face through the binoculars through all of Wishing. And her dress. Wow that dress is beautiful. She cared her self so well in this scene. It was very emotional. Last time I saw it, I thought it was one of the more boring scenes, but this time it might've been one of my favorites.

Don Juan Triumpant is such a pretty scene. I love the colors. As I said David Gaschen seems to be shorter than Hugh. By quite abit. This also gave the scene alittle different feel. He was very good at coming on to her. But she was probably the more sexy of the two in the scene. She really got into it when he touched her. While she sang on the other side of the stage he just sat there with his hands, palms up, held over his knees. It was great when she ran across the stage. The dress just swung all around her with every step, I loved it. When they were together and she ran her hands over his chest it was marvelous. While he lifted his hands to hers they were trembling like crazy. I love how she struggles and tries to wiggle away while he pulls her across the stage. I wasn't moved to the point of tears when he tried to sing to her like I had been with Hugh, but I nearly was. He was so small and sad and cute and vulnerable. It was great.

Well the finale is always amazing. Raoul was awesome. I really loved him. His voice was strong and very desperate. Phantom wasn't nearly as angry and didn't run around the lair, but he was loud and energetic. He looked so hurt when Christine rushs to Raoul. Aww it was heartbreaking. When he put the veil on her it felt off and she had to pick it up and throw it to the side during the scene. When the kiss finally came I was all smiles. No, no tears, but it was just so wonderful I couldn't stop smiling. I loved how she ran her hand over his face (kinda) as if assuring him that this was real, and then kissed him again. Gaschen's best acting was probably from this point to the end. The way he looked when he let Raoul go. It was like he was so determined and sad. When Christine came back to give him the ring, both of their faces were amazing. How they hold hands that extra moment and then she holds his in both of hers. Ah, so beautiful. And now the one moment to ruin all moments. This last note was long and beautiful and I started clapping before he finished. BUT THEN THE BLOODY CHAIR DIDN'T WORK. Can you believe it? Possibly my favorite moment ruined. He pulled the cape over him and I listened to see if I could hear him leave. I could. He lightly banged on the chair. When Meg came down she looked at it as if in curiousity. She crept around alittle too slowly trying to use up the music. The last few notes she just kneeled by the throne and put one hand on it. I felt so bad for first timers. The last imagine of the mask was what stayed with me for days after. How upsetting that it hadn't worked.

I was the first one to stand in the audience biggrin.gif . I hooted for all of them and my sister kept poking me because I was the only one. How annoying the audience was, most didn't stand until Julie and though quite afew got very excited when Vilmont came out.

My sister and I raced to the backstage door at the end. It was crowded with annoying Avenue Q people who wouldn't leave. We saw one of the actors, a man who is in the front of all the posters. Eventually they left and the only ones waiting for Phantom were my sister and me and these two little girls with their mom who were around 5. A guy came out and asked if we were waitinf for Phantom and told us if he had time he would've given us a tour (well thanks) but he sent us down the two allies to the door. Many people came out and I'd squeek every time someone in makeup passed. Then John Wasiniak came out and gave us autographs along with Carlotta... or so we thought. We talked to her for awhile showed off my sisters back shoes with painted masks on them. Got hugs and everything. Then when she signed out playbills she digned "Kris Koop" who I know is an understudy for Carlotta, but they hadn't said so on the board... Is it possible that they just didn't add her, or did I just think she looked like Carlotta? Anyway, they were both extremely nice.

Then David Gaschen came out in this bathrobe. He gave the little girls autographs and tried to get them to talk. Then he turned toward us and I more or less jumped on him. I told him I thought it was wonderful and gave him afew hugs and he was very very nice to us. While he signed my playbill I felt my legs trembling and I thought that was really funny so I started laughing. When he asked for my sisters name "Maria" he started singing "how do you solve a problem like maria?" and she was like "beautiful." It was so amusing. He told us he had a cd and we talked for a short time then he went back inside. It was great. Sadly we while in the moment I didn't even think of bringing out the camera. Very very sad.

My sister got bored and left but I waited hoping to catch Julie. I waited for alittle while when I guy asked who I was looking for. I told him and he went in to ask if she'd left. He was very nice and told me she had rehearsal for something. Yes, I was little disappointed as I wanted to tell her how marvelous I thought she was.

So that's my review. It was really wonderful the whole thing.