Friday, March 16

The Phantom Of The Opera

Last weekend the weather warmed up so I thought a nice drive in the country was in order. My wife and I piled into the car and headed for the Pocono Mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania.

While driving through the countryside I noticed a sign promoting a local theater’s production of The Phantom of the Opera, one of my favorite shows. I decided it would be fun to experience an “out of town” effort and see how it compared with the New York and London productions I had seen.

When we got to the theater I suppose I should have suspected that something was wrong when I noticed that the other patrons were all dressed up as characters from the show - some as The Phantom, some as Christine, some as Raoul, and one confused young man as Dr. Dr. Frank-N-Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In fact my wife and I were the only ones wearing “civvies”.

Despite a smallish orchestra consisting of drums, guitar, and violin we were enjoying the show pretty well until the middle of the first act - the part where The Phantom, having taken Christine to his underground lair, is explaining the layout. Suddenly, in the middle of the song, the actor playing the Phantom turned to the audience and shouted “Sing it with me, people!"

He then began clapping his hands as he sang "And in this labyrinth…”.

My wife and I were stunned, but not as stunned as when the audience bellowed back “THE PHAAAAAAANTOM OF THE OPERA IS THERE – INSIDE YOUR MIIIIIIND!”

Apparently we had wandered into a production of Sing-a-long Phantom.

I had heard of a sing-a-long version of the motion picture Sound Of Music, and my DVD copy of Grease has sing-a-long lyrics for several of the tunes, but this was something new.

I will give the audience credit, though. They were a feisty and dedicated bunch who gave it all they had. Unfortunately, some of the trickier arias were beyond the capabilities of the Eastern Pennsylvania soprano.

It might have sounded better coming from Tony Soprano.

The Phantom himself was a cross between Robert Preston and Pete Seeger, prompting the audience with the lyrics while trumpeting away with his own quite accomplished baritone:

(spoken quickly) "Come-to-me-angel-of-music"
(sung with audience) "Come to me angel of muuuuusic."
(spoken) "I-am-your-angel-of-music"
(sung) "I am your angel of muuuuusic"

Later in the car on the way home I was, if not singing out loud, certainly at least humming. "Hmm hmm hmm THE MUSIC OF THE NIIIIGHT".

"Oh, for crying out loud...", my wife complained.

"Don't you mean 'for singing out loud'?" I replied, then added "ONLY YOU CAN MAKE MY SONG TAKE FLIIIIGHT."

She smiled, turned to me, and sang, in her excellent contralto, "THAT'S ENOUGH OF MUSIC FOR TONIIIIGHT!"

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