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Theater Review: Phantom Of The Opera at Shea’s Buffalo Theatre

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On Friday, Buffalo welcomed Cameron Mackintosh’s awe-inspiring new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’sThe Phantom of the Opera to the Shea’s Buffalo stage as it entertained a few thousand theater-goers. Shea’s Buffalo is the perfect venue for watching this dark and thrilling piece that captivated this WNY audience.

The Phantom of the Opera is the longest-running Broadway musical in history and if you have not seen this show live, it should definitely be on your bucket list while it is here in Buffalo!

Quentin Oliver Lee gives a powerful and unforgettable performance as The Phantom, a horribly disfigured man who lives in the tunnels below the Paris Opera House and haunts the theater. The Phantom falls for the beautiful soprano Christine Daaé, played by the notably talented Eva Tavares who sings like an angel. This Buffalo audience falls in love with the character of Christine and you….will….too!!!

The Phantom’s desire is for young ingénue Christine to get the lead in his own opera, threatening the new owners of the theater that if she doesn’t, disaster will strike. The Phantom teaches Christine to become a singing star and believes that she, in turn, will fall in love with him, despite what lurks behind the mask.

Quentin Oliver Lee (Phantom), does an exceptional job at playing the villain and things quickly turn awkward when Christine’s handsome childhood friend Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, played by the dazzling and exuberant Jordan Craig who holds his own in the duet, “All I Ask of You”.   When Raoul enters the picture and makes his feelings known, the Phantom is distrustful and insecure.   Quentin Oliver Lee takes the character of The Phantom from villain to vulnerable so well, that by the end of the show you really do feel kind of sorry for The Phantom.

Quentin Oliver Lee’s powerful voice during, “The Music of the Night” is one of my favorite moments of the musical, and his tenderness shines in “All I Ask of You” and “The Point of No Return.”

The opera house managers, Monsieur Firmin and Monsieur André, played by David Benoit and Edward Staudenmayer, are delightful and fun to watch as they add much needed humor to the show. Trista Moldovan who plays the diva Carlotta Giudicelli and her leading man, Ubaldo Piangi played by Phumzile Sojola, are not only trained vocalists that wow this Buffalo crowd but are excellent character actors which makes the show somewhat lighter and less intense.

As for the rest of the company of this marvelous production, they are all triple-threat artists who not only sing and act but perform beautiful ballet numbers that will have you in awe.

This National Tour is something special—it’s pretty evident that the entire cast and artistic crew are beyond talented.  The scenic design of this show by Paul Brown is simply spectacular.  The sets are expansive, dynamic and technologically advanced. Every scene change creates a new and distinct world that draws you in so that you become lost in each of the scenes.

Let’s discuss the other star of the show—the iconic Chandelier.  The Chandelier scene right before intermission is simply spectacular and scary all at the same time. This scene is more than realistic to these Buffalo theater-goers as you hear theater patrons screaming as the chandelier falls and crashes over this live audience. When the lights rise toward intermission, fans find realistic shards of glass scattered throughout the venue making you feel as though the chandelier has truly fallen. This is a part of the show that you will never forget and by the reaction of this Shea’s audience, they will talk about it as they spread the word about this enhanced new production.

The costumes by Tony Award winning costume designer Maria Björnson are remarkable and many times glitzy which works well with Tony Award winning, Paule Constable’s brilliant and clever lighting design.

When walking out of the theater after the show, I heard nothing but wonderful chatter from fellow patrons.   If you have seen the original version of the show, you will fall in love with the new look of this production.  This Spectacular new version by Cameron Mackintosh brings Andrew Lloyd Webber’s epic love story to an all-time new level.  With newly reinvented staging and stunning scenic design, this new version of Phantom Of The Opera will not disappoint.  Be prepared to be dazzled because this show will take your breath away!

 The Phantom of the Opera plays at the Shea’s Buffalo Theatre through May 6th  with matinee and evening performances.

Tickets are available at : CLICK TO PURCHASE TICKETS    or by calling  1-800-745-3000.

Tickets are $32 to $127.

 

Get to Know Quentin Oliver Lee as the Phantom Of the Opera CLICK TO VIEW

 

 

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes of the Phantom Of The Opera’s Magnificent Chandelier:

A spectacular chandelier is crucial to the success of “The Phantom of the Opera”. Here are some fascinating facts about this incredible set-piece.

  • The chandelier weighs about 1 ton (about 2000LBS)
  • It is battery operated and controlled remotely via an Ipad or Iphone
  • Has 48 Bulbs and is decorated with 6,000 beads
  • The chandelier has lighting, smoke, haze, pyrotechnic effects
  • As the chandelier crashes to the ground, it comes within 10 feet of the audience
  • The chandelier falls in 7-8 seconds over the crowd
  • The chandelier has been named “Ruthie II”
  • The chandelier travels from city to city intact and does not come apart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Paul Pirrone

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John Paul Pirrone

John Pirrone is ecstatic to be joining Totally Buffalo’s team as their Arts and Entertainment contributor. John is no stranger to Western New York’s night life as he is most recognized for playing in one of WNY’s longest running shows–Tony n Tina’s Wedding. For the past 17 Years, John has played the role of the Brides brother, Joey Vitale. With over 600 performances in the same role, Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding remains his favorite role to date. John has appeared in close to 100 shows across Buffalo, Rochester and Long Island. He is also the Producer and Co-owner of Red Carpet Theater Productions. When John is not performing, his day-time position is as a Registered Respiratory Therapist for the Catholic Health System. There, he takes care of critically ill adult and neonatal patients who are in need of life support and various Respiratory Care in the acute care setting. Over the past few years, John has become an ordained Wedding Officiant performing weddings for couples throughout the United States. John is ordained in all fifty states and custom creates a unique ceremony that the couple will cherish for a lifetime. As part of John’s Arts and Entertainment segment, he will not only bring you information and reviews on local theater, he will also focus on Western New York’s array of diverse restaurants and eateries. He will encapsulate the dining experience and relay that experience to readers.

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