Press Preview: "The Phantom of the Opera" in Manila

7:00 PM

For the first time ever, Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera goes to Manila in order to give the Filipino audience a chance to experience the legendary and longest-running musical on Broadway. According to one of the show's producers James Cundall, since its launching last August 25 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), this theatrical masterpiece has received "massive" standing ovations every night and was well received and appreciated by the locals. 

Due to the "overwhelming positive reception and popular demand," The Phantom of the Opera in Manila has been extended until October 14. To celebrate the Broadway classic's successful season here in the Philippines, the producers treated a few selected people from the press and social media to an exclusive press preview.

To those present, it was finally the chance to grab a seat a few meters away from the stage without paying for the hefty ticket price of more or less P7,000. Friends from the media were only shown excerpts of this musical but nevertheless, it was satisfying.

What all of us have witnessed that day is The Phantom of the Opera on full production -- its cast on performance level, sporting their well-designed costumes, stage make-up; complete with all the props and elaborate stage design. The CCP main theater was transformed into a majestic Paris Opera House, a grand chandelier serves as its main centerpiece -- the famous prop that falls from the ceiling and shatters on stage, creating one of the most awaited and most talked-about highlights of the show (unfortunately, this dramatic scene was saved from the media).

As I watched the performances, it seemed to me that I was somehow made to believe that I was in New York or London watching an actual Broadway show. I then understood all the hype and the buzz this musical has generated here in Manila. I guess those who have already witnessed The Phantom of the Opera will agree when I say that upon seeing it, I can now understand why others would think Philippine musicals and plays appear to be way behind compared to internationally produced ones (no offense meant to our local theatrical groups and productions).
It's just that, an ordinary person in the audience, who probably know nothing about theater anyway, can tell that there's a big difference in quality, training and budget (to what we usually stage here in the country) -- a disparity that's too great for one to not notice.

Many critics have said it too many times and yes, the characters' performances (voices, acting and movements) are superb. The whole cast, from its main characters down to the choruses, were able to play their roles with conviction. There's no question that the songs in the production are forever classics and were given justice by an orchestra ensemble composed of some Filipino musicians.

The tale of  The Phantom of the Opera isn't new to us. It's something old, something we already know and something familiar in a sense that a lot of soap operas, movies and romantic novels today have carried the similar theme in their story or plots. What blew my mind I guess was the fact that the whole play was an extreme orgasmic visual feast. When I think back, I realized that the largest component that made this sneak peek overwhelming and very powerful for me was the complex and jaw-dropping production design along with the intricate wardrobe and costumes of the cast and intense choreography of each musical number. I can only imagine how complicated it is to stage this kind of production-heavy and demanding musical. I'm so impressed at how the team behind The Phantom of the Opera pulled it off and made it look effortless and seamless.

After the show preview, the producers and main characters of the show gathered to face the local media. Here are some snaps from the press conference:

Main characters (L-R): David Schlachter as Raoul, Emelie Lynn as Christine Daae, and Jonathan Roxmouth as The Phantom

At this point in my entry I'll tell you to go ahead and watch it (because really, it will be worth your time). As I go and purchase my own ticket, I can't help but sadly remember that not all of us here in the Philippines can afford to watch this kind of Broadway production. Most of the population in the country are poor; thus, leaving the expensive "high art" theatrical experience inaccessible to them.

With all the media attention, it's pretty obvious how much support and viewership The Phantom of the Opera has garnered here in Manila. By the time the production leaves the country, I just hope our zeal and excitement for musicals and theater productions remain -- this time for our own, the local ones.(30)

P.S. I'm interested to see a local musical in Resorts World called The King and I. I heard it's a grand production! Time to watch something that's our own!


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  1. Hanggang blog post nalang talaga ako sa Phantom of the Opera. Wish I'm able to watch this show if not this year, maybe next. Sana they come back here.

  2. I'm happy they are well-received least super worth it ang all out effort, production and performance nila... :)

  3. I just can't take my eyes off!Seriously,babe!;)

  4. Excited to watch this next week! :)

  5. Phantom of the Opera is a wonderful musical that everyone must see! I have got Phantom of the Opera tickets from


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