The charming Hale Theatre by the E Center Sports Arena is currently featuring one of the many versions of the musical Phantom — not to be confused with Phantom of the Opera; although the two shows center around the same characters and story, they are presented and written in very different ways.
With a production as elaborate as this, the theatre found it necessary to raise additional funds to bring on a magnificent, show-stopping performance with a talent pool worthy of Broadway’s stages. Director John Sweeney collaborated with ballet choreographer Marilyn Montgomery to create an enchanting but haunting scene in which we peer into a window of the Phantom’s memory to watch his mother dance and sing in an expression of joy to her child without any notion of his disfiguration.
Since the story takes place in an opera house, the designers lavished the stage in red drapes, candles, and of course the infamous chandelier. This is one of the rare moments where the technical crew did a perfect job as well; the sound did not overpower the vocal artists, the set pieces emerged from the floor and the staircase descended from the ceiling always with perfect timing.
The show is double-cast, and on the night the UVU Review saw the show, Jenny Latimera, a BYU theatre major, played the leading role of Christine. Latimera’s vocals are perfectly matched with Justin Bills, who played the Phantom. With their sublime voices, they sang every bit like nightingales, clear and crisp and right on pitch, both in duets as well as in their solo numbers.
This is a show well worth the time and money required to see it. You will doubtless leave the theater wanting more.
However, no show is perfect. There is one incongruous surprise near the end. It is revealed to the audience in a song that the former manager of the opera is the Phantom’s father. “I have seen my eyes in yours and waited for a long time for you to tell me,” they sing, “I’m your son, I’m your father.”
But the inclusion of this disclosure should have come in the death scene as the father holds his dying son in his arms. It would have been much less dissonant with the flow of the story as a whole.
These feelings were shared by some cast members. Even so, the cast and crew have put together a marvelous production, and it is money and time well spent for any theatre lover to go and see The Phantom.
Where: Hale Center Theatre West Valley
When: Feb. 24-apr.14 Mon.-Sat. 7:30 p.m.
Saturday matinees at 12:30 and 3:30
Tickets: Adults $22or $26. Children $15 and $16
No children under 5 years of age.