By Sergio Berrueta
Three-dimensional film experience, “The Phantom of the Opera” creates an all new live musical soundtrack to the classic 1925 silent film of the same name starring horror legend Lon Chaney.
Vox Lumiere brings their creative blend of cinema and stage to The Los Angeles Theatre Center with this musical.
The Phantom, portrayed musically by James Lynch, haunts the opera below in his cavern.
After the opera is bought by new owners, they eye Carlotta, portrayed musically by Julie Brody, to be the main attraction, despite the Phantom wanting the young talent Christine, portrayed musically by Marisa Johnson and Victoria Levy, to be the star.
When the needs are not met to the Phantom’s demands, the Phantom begins to terrorize the opera.
The Phantom’s obsession is to undermine the relationship between Christine and Raoul, portrayed musically by D. Valentine, in order to have Christine all to himself.
Vox Lumiere’s spin on the classic horror musical amps the story up.
Live music by director Kevin Saunders Hayes explores the realms of metal, hard rock and noise pop throughout in a pitch perfect manner.
The songs help set the mood to the silent film.
From the over-the-top song of “The Grand Dame” by The Grand Dame, portrayed by Danielle Skalsky, to the first appearance of The Phantom in front of Christine with the dramatic “Let Me Love You Now,” stun the audience with duets that border on gothic rock.
Songs like “Release Me” and “I’ll Let You Know” stand out from the other songs for being softer and lower key ballads, adding to the romance between Raoul and Christine.
“The Masked Ball (1899)” during the Bal Masque, brings high energy to the audience with Faust, portrayed by Chris Marcos, as he leads the dancers through a big party with eroticism in tact.
Accompanied with the silent film, it brings the film to a modern audience with new eyes and appreciation.
From the first frame of showing the Opera Populaire, dancers came onto the stage in preparation for the stage show like the extras on films.
The actors mimic the films actions, yet add new movements and actions to the foray.
The dancers and actors mimic the fright of the characters and sing of the emotion they are going through.
Sometimes words are not needed at all. As Christine, played by Mary Philbin in the film, is forced back underground with the Phantom, played by the aforementioned Chaney, dancers Shayna Weintruab and Cameron Evans give an interpretive rendition of Chistine’s descent down.
It builds the tension and gives a beautiful new interpretation of the dramatic scene.
The dances during the music sequence is stunning.
The choreography by Natalie Willes shines with dancers jumping in the air, cavorting in dazzling formation and swarming into the crowd to give the audience an up close experience.
The musical adds a new steampunk visual element in its costume design as well.
Clockwork on vests of the dancers, Victorian inspired dresses and the Phantom wearing mad scientist goggles, walking with a cane and flaunting a top hat give a modern look at Victorian France with hints of the past.
The overall presentation of the Universal film is remarkable using the tinted color version, which features a restored version of the Bal Masque sequence in its original Technicolor presentation.
The film is projected front and center above the minimalistic stage with elements from the scene on the two screens to the side.
The lighting of the stage also reflects the colors used in the sequences with great use of effects on the side screens ranging from bats flying to a man hanging back and forth.
Vox Lumiere- “The Phantom of the Opera” stuns and dazzles with an enthralling and unique experience that rivals with being in the actual film.
The stage elements breathe new appreciation for the classic “Faust” inspired tale with an amazing rock soundtrack, fascinating use of dance and delightful visual presentation from the lighting to the design.
Vox Lumiere- “The Phantom of the Opera” is be performed on Nov. 21 and 22 with two shows the following month on Dec. 12 and 13 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center.
Tickets ranged from $40 for general admission to $75 for the premier experience.
Los Angeles Theater Center is located at 514 Spring St., Los Angeles.
For more information visit voxlumiere.com