Due to the "overwhelming positive reception and popular demand," The Phantom of the Opera in Manila has been extended until October 14. To celebrate the Broadway classic's successful season here in the Philippines, the producers treated a few selected people from the press and social media to an exclusive press preview.
To those present, it was finally the chance to grab a seat a few meters away from the stage without paying for the hefty ticket price of more or less P7,000. Friends from the media were only shown excerpts of this musical but nevertheless, it was satisfying.
The Phantom of the Opera on full production -- its cast on performance level, sporting their well-designed costumes, stage make-up; complete with all the props and elaborate stage design. The CCP main theater was transformed into a majestic Paris Opera House, a grand chandelier serves as its main centerpiece -- the famous prop that falls from the ceiling and shatters on stage, creating one of the most awaited and most talked-about highlights of the show (unfortunately, this dramatic scene was saved from the media).
Many critics have said it too many times and yes, the characters' performances (voices, acting and movements) are superb. The whole cast, from its main characters down to the choruses, were able to play their roles with conviction. There's no question that the songs in the production are forever classics and were given justice by an orchestra ensemble composed of some Filipino musicians.
The tale of The Phantom of the Opera isn't new to us. It's something old, something we already know and something familiar in a sense that a lot of soap operas, movies and romantic novels today have carried the similar theme in their story or plots. What blew my mind I guess was the fact that the whole play was an extreme orgasmic visual feast. When I think back, I realized that the largest component that made this sneak peek overwhelming and very powerful for me was the complex and jaw-dropping production design along with the intricate wardrobe and costumes of the cast and intense choreography of each musical number. I can only imagine how complicated it is to stage this kind of production-heavy and demanding musical. I'm so impressed at how the team behind The Phantom of the Opera pulled it off and made it look effortless and seamless.
At this point in my entry I'll tell you to go ahead and watch it (because really, it will be worth your time). As I go and purchase my own ticket, I can't help but sadly remember that not all of us here in the Philippines can afford to watch this kind of Broadway production. Most of the population in the country are poor; thus, leaving the expensive "high art" theatrical experience inaccessible to them.
With all the media attention, it's pretty obvious how much support and viewership The Phantom of the Opera has garnered here in Manila. By the time the production leaves the country, I just hope our zeal and excitement for musicals and theater productions remain -- this time for our own, the local ones.(30)
P.S. I'm interested to see a local musical in Resorts World called The King and I. I heard it's a grand production! Time to watch something that's our own!