Tag: musical

Theater Fans, Say Goodbye to ‘Phantom of the Opera’…Sort Of

For the uninitiated, Phantom of the Opera is a musical with music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe. It’s based on a 1910 novel of the same name by Gaston Leroux. The musical opened in 1986 in London’s West End. It had been running for 34 years, until March 2020 when the theater had to close because of the coronavirus.

And yet, as theater fans—not just in the U.K. but around the world—waited with bated breath for the reopening of society and the theater, Cameron Mackintosh, the producer of the musical, announced that Phantom of the Opera would be closing permanently. After a run of 34 years since 1986, Phantom of the Opera’s curtains and infamous chandelier will not be rising again, even after other shows open again.

Image Via Twin Cities Arts Reader

At least, that’s what the original statement was. In the U.K.’s Evening Standard newspaper, Mackintosh wrotean article about how untenable opening theaters back up was in the current pandemic. And since there’s no end in sight, he had to make huge downsizes to his company to make sure it would survive. Mackintosh knew this was coming—he wrote:

In early May I warned Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and the Government that [downsizing] would be necessary unless we received financial help. Despite the recent announcement of a £1.57 billion rescue fund for the arts, this help still hasn’t materialized.

Unfortunately, this meant he had to make some tough decisions.

“Andrew [Lloyd Webber] and I have had to sadly permanently shut down our London and U.K. touring productions of The Phantom of the Opera, but are determined to bring it back to London in the future.”

While his comma use is questionable, his intentions are not—he wants to bring the musical back to London. But he also said that it is closed permanently. These two statements seem contradictory. How can the musical be closed permanently and yet hopefully will be brought back?

Image Via Classic FM

Well, the answer lies in a statement made to The Stage by The Really Useful Group, which is owned by Lloyd Webber and produces, licenses, and promotes his shows. The president of the Really Useful Group, Jessica Koravos, said:

What Cameron [Mackintosh] was meaning to say is, we have closed down the production entity that has been that [production of] The Phantom of the Opera for 34 years, and have closed down the physical production. Even before the pandemic hit, we were already in a process of going carefully through the physical production, some parts of it already having been decommissioned. There are systems in that set you could not get the replacement parts for me any more—they just aren’t made after 34 years.

What does that mean? They’re permanently closing down the production of The Phantom of the Opera that’s been running for 34 years, but they’re not permanently stopping showing a production of the musical. It’ll be back as the same glorious musical it’s always been, just with some necessary updates needed. It’s basically a reboot.

The musical is going to return unchanged, with the same work done by the original creative team, including director Hal Prince and designer Maria Björnson. But they needed to update the physical set itself, because it’s been more than three decades and it’s probably getting a little rusty.

Koravos added that they had planned to do a period of closure in a few years to do said renovations, but after the pandemic forced a close, they couldn’t afford to do two. So, honestly, it’s pretty efficient that they’re doing the reboot now instead of in a few years.

Phantom of the Opera set
Image Via Lincoln Journal Star

Furthermore, once they looked at the set, it became clear that the building itself also needed work. So they need to do repairs on the set and the building, and they can’t even work on the building until the whole set is out.

But, theater fans, the gist of it is that you don’t have to worry, The Phantom of the Opera will be returning in all its glory. They just need to do some renovations and add in some new technology, but the show will continue to be “the brilliant original.”

So when will The Phantom of the Opera be back in London? It’s difficult to say. Koravos said, “Unlike some other shows that can say they will reopen as soon as social distancing ends, we have these other issues which means we are not able to give people a date, and so could not in all good faith keep people hanging on for a genuinely unknown length of time.”

They’re working hard to update the musical and keep it working, so fans just need to be patient. It will be back. The theater venue will be waiting—no other show will take The Phantom of the Opera’s place. Not that it could, anyway.

Featured Image Via Entertainment Weekly

‘Hamilton’ is Coming to Disney Plus!

The smash hit broadway play, Hamilton, is going to begin streaming on Disney Plus on July 3! The play was slated to hit theaters in Fall of 2021, but due to the state of the nation they have moved the release date to this summer. However, there are still plans for the play to hit theaters, but that date is unknown, and in the meantime Disney, put out $75 million dollars to stream it.

Image via TheaterinChicago

The play will feature the original cast, which was filmed by director Thomas Kail. According to playwright and composter, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Kail has given everyone at home the best seat in the house with the way he captured the live performance on camera. Miranda, also stated how excited he is for everyone to see it. This play will definitely bring joy to lots of households during the quarantine.

Image via Variety

Since it hit the broadway stage back in 2016, Hamilton has been a big sold out hit. It’s been hard to get a ticket to this show, not only because of it being sold out, but due to the starting price of tickets ranging from $450-$600. Now, people will be able to stream it for just $6.99 a month, which is a great ray of sunshine during this pandemic. It’s been a dream for some time to see this play, and now it will have a more than reasonable price to sit front row.

Another one of Miranda’s plays, In the Heights, was slated to be released in theaters in July, of this year but it’s been pushed to June 2021. We may have to wait until next year to see that one, but at least we have Hamilton to look forward to.

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Featured Image via Looper

Percy Jackson is Headed to Broadway

We’ve all been there. You’re struggling in school and dealing with the everyday hardships of being a teenager- friends, relationships and changing bodies. Oh, and you just found out that your dad is Poseidon, the God of the Sea. Casual stuff.

 

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Image via The Mary Sue

 

If this doesn’t apply to you, you’re probably not Percy Jackson, the protagonist of the 2005 bestselling young adult fantasy novel, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Rick Riordan’s novel intersects adolescence and Greek mythology in a completely relatable, yet absurd way. The novel was adapted into a movie in 2010 starring Logan Lerman and Alexandra Daddario. Apparently, fans were still not satisfied because in 2014, the story took the stage for the first time. After a thirty two city national tour, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical will hit the stage on Broadway for the first time.

 

 

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Image via Hollywood Reporter

 

According to the Hollywood Reporter, performances will begin on September 20 with an opening night date of October 16. The musical will run for a limited time, planning to close in early January 2020. Chris McCarrell will continue his title role of Percy from the national tour to the Broadway stage at Longacre Theater.

 

For the first time, fans can see Percy and his demigod comrades fight monsters, fall under the spell of sirens and confront their mythological parents on a Broadway scale…with a few songs here and there.

 

 

Featured Image via Variety 

T.S. Eliot Would Have Approved of ‘Cats’ Film, Estate Says

The trailer for the upcoming musical adaptation Cats debuted last week, and the responses ranged from “curious” to “horrified”. The CGI-versions of the main cast as anthropomorphic cats was widely criticized on social media, but not from the estate of the author whose poems inspired the musical.

 

Image Via Heart Radio

 

Speaking to The Guardian, Clare Reihill, who administers the Elliot estate, said that the late author would have been pleased with how disturbing the characters look within the film.

 

“I think Eliot might have enjoyed the rich strangeness of the blurring of the boundary between human and cat in the trailer, which is in keeping with the elusiveness of the world of the poems – or indeed the nocturnal surrealism of something like Rhapsody on Windy Night [the basis of the song Memory]. He was also a great fan of Jacques Tati’s movies, with their surreal urban ballets.”

 

 

The musical is based on a series of poems compiled into a book titled Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Reihill commented that the world in the poems is as strange as the one in the trailer:

 

“The cats in the poems inhabit a world that is slightly unfixed: sometimes the cats seem to exist in a normal human world, sometimes they seem to inhabit an all-feline one – it’s never quite clarified.”

 

Image Via Amazon

 

Cats will hit theaters this Christmas.

 

 

Featured Image Via IndieWire