There Are Phantoms, and There Are Phantoms. . . .

phantomMamacita says:  Mmmm, I do love me the Broadway musicals! I’m particular, though.

Sometimes, I love a show nobody else likes, and sometimes a show that everybody else likes, I don’t. But aren’t we all like that, in every aspect of life?

For example, I like Arthur Kopit’s Phantom more than I like ALW’s The Phantom of the Opera. I like them BOTH, mind you, but Kopit’s is just, well, better. That’s my opinion and I’m stickin’ to it.

phantom-american-musical-sensation-original-broadway-cast-cd-cover-artThe miniseries that ran back in the early nineties was Kopit’s version, and there is also a musical version of his script. I like them both. I’m not sure which I like better, sometimes.

One reason I like that miniseries is that it uses real opera music in it. Phantom is about the opera; it takes place in an opera house, and there is supposed to be opera music in it. In Kopit’s version, there is! Get people engrossed in a good story, and they will probably like all the peripheral lessons included in it. In Phantom, there is opera music. My students, back in the middle school, were fascinated by Faust – the storyline and the music, both, and that’s a pretty complicated combo. (I’m sorry about the synch on that video, but you can still get the gist of it.  Pretend you’re watching a Japanese film dubbed in English or something.) (Speaking of Japanese phantoms, check out the Takarazuka Revue! ) (Then look at this one.) (Fascinating concept.)

Don’t make the mistake of underestimating middle school students. Everybody else does, but don’t any of you. Our young teens are quite capable of not only understanding a complicated story, but also enjoying it.

Honestly? I believe that one – and there are many others – reason so many of our teens hate school is that it’s boring; everything in our public schools seems to exist for the sake of getting the lowest common denominator crammed full enough of answers to pass that big test. Of COURSE our smart kids are bored!  Wouldn’t you be?

This is one of my favorite scenes from the miniseries:

. . . and, this is a montage from the stage musical:

If you like that, or are just curious about a Phantom that isn’t ALW’s, you might check out “My Mother Bore Me” on YouTube, as well. Bonus points if you know the point of origin for the lyrics!

The original Kopit phantom was Richard White.  If you have children, I’m sure you know what he’s the most famous for these days. 

You don’t?  You’re kidding.  Yes, you do.  Check out your child’s video collection. 

Find him?  Excellent.  More bonus points for the title.


Comments

There Are Phantoms, and There Are Phantoms. . . . — 8 Comments

  1. My brother travelled with the first ALW Phantom company that started in Chicago… he was with them for 8 years. They did use real opera singers for the chorus and he sang the roll of Piangi several times.

    Now, he is a Heldon tenor, singing lead roles in Wagner operas mainly. He has performed in Othello, Peter Grimes, Tannehauser, and in Wagner’s Ring Cycle. He mainly works in Europe, Japan, Canada and Brazil but is set to make his Met debut in 2011 in The Flying Dutchman.

    The funny thing about the leads in most operas… they die at the end. It always amuses me that they can sing a rousing aria while mortally wounded and then…. kaput.

  2. My brother travelled with the first ALW Phantom company that started in Chicago… he was with them for 8 years. They did use real opera singers for the chorus and he sang the roll of Piangi several times.

    Now, he is a Heldon tenor, singing lead roles in Wagner operas mainly. He has performed in Othello, Peter Grimes, Tannehauser, and in Wagner’s Ring Cycle. He mainly works in Europe, Japan, Canada and Brazil but is set to make his Met debut in 2011 in The Flying Dutchman.

    The funny thing about the leads in most operas… they die at the end. It always amuses me that they can sing a rousing aria while mortally wounded and then…. kaput.

  3. My husband has seen ALW’s Phantom approximately 8,000 times (working as a stage manager on the show). I have never seen it. We met after he finished that contract. I shall have to ask him which Phantom he prefers!

  4. My husband has seen ALW’s Phantom approximately 8,000 times (working as a stage manager on the show). I have never seen it. We met after he finished that contract. I shall have to ask him which Phantom he prefers!

  5. Faust. I do love that tragedy.

    Richard White…wasn’t that Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, yes, yes he was now that I think about it.

    There was one book which I read in High School that challenged my way of thinking, opened my mind to something complex and beautiful, it was Oscar Wilde’s “Portrait of Dorian Gray”. I did fall in love with that classic.

  6. Faust. I do love that tragedy.

    Richard White…wasn’t that Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, yes, yes he was now that I think about it.

    There was one book which I read in High School that challenged my way of thinking, opened my mind to something complex and beautiful, it was Oscar Wilde’s “Portrait of Dorian Gray”. I did fall in love with that classic.

  7. imagine a small but insistent voice:

    “I do NOT like ALW, and Phantom makes me want to upchuck insistently.”

    Try not to hate on me please– I’m feeling fragile (but truthful).

  8. imagine a small but insistent voice:

    “I do NOT like ALW, and Phantom makes me want to upchuck insistently.”

    Try not to hate on me please– I’m feeling fragile (but truthful).

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