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The Lookout | December 19, 2018

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Don’t Miss out on The Phantom of the Opera

Don’t Miss out on The Phantom of the Opera

Sarah Spohn
A&E Editor

The red plush seats and the hard floor stage looked even more regal than usual, given the addition of the iconic grandiose crystal chandelier suspended from the Wharton Center’s ceiling.

A full house sat in the Cobb Great Hall for the Friday night performance of Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” on April 3.

A mysterious phantom haunts and toils with the cast and crew at the Paris Opera House in 1911. He soon becomes enamored with a female vocalist Christine Daaé, demanding she sing his music throughout the performance. Threats, violence and mysterious happenings soon occur all throughout the theater.

For someone who had never seen the show (shame on me, I know) the singing dialogue was hard to understand not having been too familiar with the storyline.

That’s not to say there wasn’t plenty of talent gracing the stage though. Central Michigan University alum and Michigan native Katie Travis wowed the crowd with her powerful vocal performance as Christine.

Playing the Phantom’s love interest and the opera’s leading lady, Travis filled the rafters with her impressive range. An equally impressive and crystal-clear Phantom performance was delivered by a proud Chris Mann.

Mann, a former NBC vocal competition contestant on “The Voice,” in my opinion, stole the show.

For a masked character whose face isn’t shown until over half-way through the production, the actor and singer really connected with the crowd.

Given Mann’s years of vocal training under his belt, it was no surprise they casted him to fill the role of the scarred yet endearing Phantom.

But before the big reveal behind the masked phantom is the musical’s infamous chandelier scene. I had been hearing about this scene for years now.

The notorious chandelier scene certainly didn’t disappoint. In the last scene before the intermission, the production shows off its many special effects, raising you out of your seat.

As sparklers fire off, the massive crystal chandelier cracks and descends into the audience. Given the flickering lights and suspension, I’m left wondering how many electricians and engineers were behind constructing the ‘Phantom’ staple.

The spooky fog lamps, lights and shadows casted set the mood for the production as well as a simple yet effective revolving set design.

The stage effects combined with the massive sounds produced by the orchestra made for a memorable evening at the opera. “Phantom of the Opera” continues at Wharton Center until Sunday, April 12. For tickets and more information, visit or call 517-432-2000.

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