As the lights dimmed at The Music Hall at Fair Park, the familiarly haunting opening refrain of one of America's most famous contributions to musical theater began to fill the air. As the richness of the pipe organ soared above the crowd, the eyes of all were drawn upward as the stage and the room were magically transformed into an opera house reminiscent of early 20th century France; as the all too famous chandelier took its place above the crowd, it became suddenly and undeniably clear- the Phantom of the Opera had once again arrived in Dallas.
The national touring cast of Phantom, led by Tim Martin Gleason as the Phantom and directed by Harold Prince, has returned to the Dallas Summer Musicals stage for what is being billed as its final time, and it most assuredly does not disappoint. For those who have yet to see this historic performance, now is a great time, as the 36 member cast takes you on a journey that begins in early 20th century France and takes you back to a time when the lavish and theatrical Opera performance was the "civilized" man's preferred form of entertainment. Opulent costumes and some of the most beautifully scored music in the history of the theater again reinforce why this play is nothing short of an experience.
Gleason gives a chilling and beautiful performance as the lovestruck and extremely conflicted Phantom, a man whose dedication to stagecraft and music is outweighed only by his obvious and dangerously violent love for the beautiful Christine Daaé, wonderfully played by Marni Raab. As the story of the unrequited love of this "Opera Ghost" takes shape over the course of the hour and a half of the performance, audience members find themselves torn as they simultaneously hate the Phantom for his cruelty, while secretly wishing that his dream of a normal life with the woman he loves might come true- all the while knowing that it never can. As Christine's true love interest, Raoul, fights valiantly to keep her safe from the machinations of the Phantom, we find ourselves at times rooting against him, not because he is undeserving of Christine's love, but rather because the Phantom pines after it so much more.
A few minor production difficulties kept this performance from being 100%, but as the show will be in Dallas for a little under a month, there is little doubt that those glitches will soon be worked out, and audience will again fall in love with what one patron described as "one of the most beautiful and haunting love stories ever told." The show runs nightly until March 14 and tickets can be purchased from the DSM box office or through Ticketmaster and range in price from $21-$86.
Dallas Summer Musicals Presents: The Phantom of the Opera
February 17, 2010 - March 14, 2010
The Music Hall at Fair Park
909 1st Avenue
Dallas, TX 75210