After getting the hint about this trip being installed on the thin line between probability and fate, I thought it would be best to decide on the fourth and concluding musical I would watch at the TKTS booth in Leicester square. I had limited options because there are only a handful of matinees on a Thursday.
I was greeted at the booth by the same enthusiastic guy who sold me the ticket to the wonderful “Kinky Boots”. I told him how talented I thought he was for seating me next to the couple who sat next to me on my flight to London, for Kinky Boots. I told him he should work his charms once again in finding the best bargain for a matinee show. He didn’t let me down, as he told me he had a ticket for the 8th row in Phantom of the Opera for 35 pounds. It was now obvious to me, after watching Wicked from so far away – that getting a close ticket can make the entire difference between enjoying a show and wanting to leave during intermission.
After getting the ticket I met with my friend Ronen, who just moved to London to give it a shot in the advanced-film-editing industry. We met up at the Trafalgar square Costa-Waterstones where we both had their lovely portioned coffee; served in a soup bowl, very COSTA-fective. We sat there for a good three hours getting some stuff done on the laptop, looking busy and feeling important. He then walked me over to HMS’s Theater, where we took that magnificent selfie (above), and on the way witnessed a tourist catching a pidgin in and stuffing it in a shopping bag. Now there’s an original souvenir.
The theater’s interior was grotesquely designed, I later learned – adequately. The general feeling of this musical is somewhere between Gothic and over the top Schmaltz. It’s a classic, and there’s only one way to revive a classic – be very loyal and go all the way with the original look and spirit of the time. As this production did just this, sitting in the 8th row for the opening scene with the chandelier rising to the ceiling of the theater, to the sound of the church organ, did the job – I was covered with goosebumps.
As the show progressed and more and more all-time-classics were being performed affront my eyes, I sank into the schmaltz in grateful submission. The cast did a brilliant job vocally and theatrically. The set was mind blowing, designed to make jaws drop, as was happening all around me, rightfully. In my humble opinion, one of the most important thing that a musical does for its spectators is give them magic. Even though the story is old, over done, over the top and schmaltz, “Phantom of the Opera” is a the magic at its purest form.
Looking back at these almost three days and four musicals I’ve just experienced, I am happy I got to land this field trip classically, remembering my Bubby who loved listening to the soundtrack and probably enjoyed watching the show back in the days. It’s great to have a show that can make you feel nostalgic by recreating the “back in the day” essence, and enabling me to watch a show with my beloved late Bubby.