The Phantom of the Opera | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

The Phantom of the Opera



THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Cadillac Palace Theatre. Andrew Lloyd Webber wants very, very much for his megamusical to be an opera about an opera. But its first-act spoof of a 19th-century opus of the Meyerbeer persuasion, "Hannibal," is no more overwrought than the show that frames it. Webber's pastiche pays ardent homage to composers from Giacomo Puccini to Frederick Loewe, and there's a pumped-up passion to "The Music of the Night" and "All I Ask of You." What's missing is a text that would make us understand the Phantom's drive to control rising young star Christine. What little we learn of his motivation is ludicrously lame: he's shaking down the Paris Opera House for money and stealing its soprano. This is Beauty and the Beast with no lesson.

Harold Prince's staging, now on its fourth Chicago visit, offers what for many is enough: spectacle. Along with the pyrotechnics of a floating catwalk, candles rising through stage fog, and 22 set changes, you get powerhouse performances from Gary Mauer as the Phantom, Rebecca Pitcher as his happily harassed protegee, and Tim Martin Gleason as Raoul, the third point in the triangle. Oh yes, and a crashing chandelier.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →