'Return of the Phantom' at Broadway of Pitman: A worthy sequel

Tuesday, 07 November 2017, 08:29:21 PM. The world premiere of 'Return of the Phantom' at the Broadway Theatre of Pitman is a sequel of sorts to the famed novel and even more famous Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. It's also delightful, beautifully sung, and has plenty of pleasing music and performances, making it well worth seeing.
The Broadway Theatre of Pitman deserves huge kudos for creating and producing a world-premiere musical that features a cast of more than 20 and a 10-piece orchestra. It deserves even more for daring to write a sequel in story to The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston LeRoux’s 1910 novel, and to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s blockbuster musical of the same name. John D. Smitherman’s book for this new work doesn’t hinge on the musical, but it certainly builds on audience familiarity with the characters. The prologue opens in 1890, with a fire consuming the Paris Opera. Raoul (Smitherman) rescues the young soprano Christine Daae (Nicole Renna) from the lair of the Phantom (Steve McMahon). Composer Daniel Humbert’s first musical contribution charms in a lovely overture that plays as we fast-forward 20 years to 1910, where the now-married Raoul and Christine, with daughter Angelique (Rachel Dalton) enjoy a home life that is filled with love yet troubled by the past. Like mother, like daughter: Angelique works as a chorus girl in the newly rebuilt Paris Opera and its first-ever production of Pagliacci. (Anyone familiar with Leoncavallo’s tale of a murderous clown can guess just when the Phantom of this new work will interrupt the proceedings.) Angelique gets her big chance when the leading soprano quits. The Phantom hears her sing, but now, completely unhinged after 20 more years of solitude, he mistakes her for Christine and plans his revenge. Musically, Return of the Phantom offers much....Read more
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