When: March 8th, 2005
I was pleased to see the insert that Michael Shawn Lewis was
playing Raoul, as I've heard good things about him (which turned out to be true, and that's saying something as I usually
don't bother taking notes about Raoul's ) As far as I knew Sandra was playing Chrstine, but then at the last minute they announced that Julie Hanson
would be going on instead. (Later at the stage door Julie said that Sandra called and had been stuck in traffic. I'd been
snowing like crazy all day.) Well, here goes!
Hugh- Wow! I've heard/seen things
from previous performances *cough* but nothing like this. His voice was so much richer, more commanding this night. Absolutely
Julie- One of my favorite Christines, but I think maybe the short notice of having to fill in for Sandra
threw her off a bit as her high notes were a bit flat all night...still, love her!
Michael- Again, wow! Probably the
only Raoul I've ever enjoyed! He was great, though a bit rough when it came to grabbing people by the upper arms, I noticed--ouch!
The audience was pretty unresponsive, which was disappointing, especially with such good performances
from the principals.
ACT I -
ToM - Julie shined (shone? whatever), of course, and MSL's over-enthusiastic
clapping was very cute. (Did I just say that? )
The Mirror - Hugh blew me away, really. He just sounded so powerful, so commanding.
MOTN - Hugh's
"soar" and "be" were fantastic
I remember/STYDI - Julie gave a look around the lair as if asking herself "Where am
I?", which I liked, as well as how she sort of curled into a ball after she fell, whereas most Christine's I've seen usually
lie a bit more flat/stretched out (if that makes sense). Hugh paused for a long moment after the mask was gone before he turned
on her, and his crawling was a highlight and before she handed back the mask he curled up and rocked back and forth in grief,
it was very moving.
Notes - I've been spoiled by the great chemistry that the U.S. tour Managers (David Cryer/D. C.
Anderson) have that I think Jeff Keller/George Lee Andrews are lacking so I'll just mention a little flub: after Raoul's entrance
and the first "Of course not!" Jeff forgot to come in with "Don't look at us" and the three of them just stared at each other
for a moment until Raoul's next line.
Il Muto - Andre used a monacle to check in his program which cct the ballet was
from, which I thought was a funny touch and one that I haven't seen done before, as far as I can remember.
As as E/C shipper I usually try to ignore this scene, but I actually paid attention this time and honestly enjoyed Michael's
AIAOY (Reprise) - Hugh didn't let me down. His "No's" were very good, but mostly he made these soft, despairing
noises that brought tears to my eyes (aww).
ACT II -
Masquerade - I'd forgotten how gorgeous this
scene is on Broadway, and you could hear the rest of the audience gasp as well when the full set was revealed.
II - Another flub on Keller's part, it went a little something like: "If you can't find the ghost, by return of the ghost"
WYWSHA - What can I say other than that Julie is great?
Wandering Child - After Hugh's "Don't
go!" he made this great frustrated growl that I loved.
PONR - (To preface, I love Phantom's who get a bit antsy on
the bench, I hate when they just sit there) At "bodies entwining" Hugh's left hand clenched in his robe on his knee and he
drew both hands tightly into his lap. When Julie came behind him he twitched a bit every time her hands traced the outline
of his shoulders and when she finally touched him he nearly jumped out of his seat (all of which, of course, I loved).
- After Michael slid in under the portcullis and hugged Julie, Hugh put his hands together and made this great sneering noise
as if to say "Aww, how sweet...too bad I punjab you now!" Later, Hugh was holding the veil and at "Why make her lie to you" he let it drop and looked utterly miserable
(aww). At his last "You've passed the point of no return" Hugh looked as if he wanted to touch Julie but you could see him
think better of it and say to himself "No, be strong" or something like that, it was very effective. The kiss, I hate to say
it, was slightly disappointing for some reason. Can't put my finger on it. *shrug* After Julie returned the ring, Hugh choked
out "I love you" again and then went to gather up the veil. He was a bit quieter than I usually prefer (I like when Phantom's
keep reapeating "Christine...I love you"), but the way he buried his face in the veil was very moving. For the last lines
(which were strong, tortured, and very good), he seemed to sing to the veil as he held it out...it was something I hadn't
seen before and I liked it.
After the show, I got a picture with Michael in the lobby (still in costume in that nice
ripped-open shirt) as he was helping to collect donations. Went around to the stage door and was able to slip through that
big metal door (those of you who have given tips on how to get there weren't lying about it!) after the mother and boyfriend
of a dancer who had made her B'way debut that night. It was my first stage door experience (yes, I'm a wimp so I'd never gone
before). It was awesome to meet Hugh and Julie in person, I couldn't believe it at first.
Got photos with each of them. I told Hugh how wonderful
I thought his performance was and he thanked me for buying a poster
and helping with the charity. I told Julie how I was happy to hear her name announced before the show and then she laughed
and explained about Sandra and the traffic. Julie checked my poster for her signature, didn't see it, and so signed it right
then. Her's got smudged along with Hugh's but actually I don't mind so much because it just reminds me that she signed it right there in person