The talent is so impressive in the new touring production of The Phantom of the Opera - the first tour in the United States in three years – it makes one realize after the show it was money and time well spent. Staged at the remarkable Academy of Music in Philadelphia, this classic story is based on Le Fantôme de L’Opéra by Gaston Leroux. Phantom tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with a young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents.
The musical score of the orchestra is mesmerizing. There are passages during the show where the music is so engaging and so well conducted that it seems we are treated to a production similar to Broadway or London.
The show is a robust 2 ½ hours so I would say children 12 and over would be best. Most of the show is in classical opera genre, there are scenes where the entire dialogue among the ensemble is sung. With this said, the singing is so powerful and the storyline is evident through the expression of the performers and the wonderful set design.
Tickets for the show are well worth the price. Splurge on the orchestra seats, you won’t be disappointed. Tickets can be purchased by calling 215-731-3333, online at kimmelcenter.org/broadway, at the Kimmel Center box office, Broad & Spruce Sts. (open daily 10 am to 6 pm) or at the Academy of Music box office, Broad & Locust Sts., (open during performances only). Groups of 20 or more will receive discounts for select performances by calling 215-790-5883 or 866-276-2947.
The show will be in Philadelphia until April 12, 2014. Performances include: Tuesday - Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm; Friday & Saturday evening at 8:00 pm; Sunday evening at 6:30 pm; matinees, Saturdays at 2:00 pm and Sundays at 1:00 pm. A special weekday matinee is set for Thursday, April 10 at 2:00 pm.
To make the night extra-special, make pre-theater plans to visit the restaurant Max Brenner, 1500 Walnut Street, just three blocks from the Academy of Music, which is chocolate lover’s delight. As soon as one enters a vibe of fun begins. I really like the fact that children and teens are welcome at Max Brenner. The menu is extensive with everything from burgers, to chicken fingers with chocolate infused dipping sauces, and flat bread pizzas. For older children, who like pasta or salads, there is no shortage of that either. The desserts are impressive; a menu with pages of offerings surely ends a meal here sweetly. There’s even a cute chocolate and gift shop in the front of the restaurant. Max Brenner in Philadelphia is a go-to place for families. Some of the other restaurants in the theater district are not kid-centric. There are great steakhouses and romantic bistros, yes, but bringing tweens and teens here can leave them squirming waiting for the food and parents wondering why a hamburger at the upscale steakhouse costs $19, or more. For families, Max Brenner is a great alternative. It is certainly worth the price of admission, both for the ambience and the dining experience. If kids aren’t in tow, there’s a full bar, a great menu, and it is also perfect for an after-theater choice for desserts, to end the night on a sweet note.