Goodbye Phantom, Goodbye

“Sometimes I like to play the soundtracks to famous musicals so we can all sing along. South Pacific is one of my favorites. Our neighbors must hate us.~Louise Brown (

Couple of months back I found out that one of the most famous theatrical shows ever was finally wrapping up after an encore presentation: the Princess of Wales’ long running Phantom of the Opera. In Toronto the show is famous across most lines of class and culture, and I realized a lot of my friends and family still hadn’t had a chance to see it. After bringing it up with some friends who also haven’t seen the show – I decided to take the plunge and put together a group for june 14th 2007 to go watch it and get discounted group tickets (minimum of 20 tickets @ 70$ instead of $100 a ticket). A couple of people ended up bailing on me at the last minute and etc. and just as I was about to get a little stressed at footing the price; low and behold I was able to unload the 4 extra tickets to scalpers at 35 bucks a piece and ended up breaking more or less even (I charged 77 per ticket to cover my own ass and for the hassles I had to deal with). I found out later that I could have probably sold the extra tickets at 70, or the original 100, or even more to people asking for tickets at the door (scalped them myself – Duh!).

so lessons to be learnt here:
1)always have people prepay for their tickets (and anything else)
2)always make sure you have room in your plan for when Murphy’s law strikes!
3)always stay relaxed for a chance to flip a bad situation (could have waited for a minute and sold the tickets directly to people)

Anyways the lessons learnt that day were golden – now moving on to the actual show. Everyone seemed to enjoy the show – or so they said to me directly. If you asked me if I would recommend the show for $100 or even $70 a ticket, I don’t know if I could say yes without reservations. Let me be more specific – the show’s visuals and special effects were F#!@ING AMAZING, the story was pretty funny, and even a lot of the music was pretty cool (to our girlfriends’ collective horror, we couldn’t help but sing “Music of the Night” on the train ride back). The caveat is the acoustics seemed off, enough so that some of the words in the songs seemed garbled and hard to understand – a tragedy for a musical. Someone noted we might have been at a matinée screening – aka a show performed by the second string cast, I checked, it wasn’t. My only conclusion was that I had too high an expectation for live theatre (because I had heard the songs originally on tape and expected the same quality), or that the seats we had didn’t lend themselves to good acoustics, or finally my ears weren’t accustomed to live theatre (p.s. it wasn’t only me who found it hard to follow some of the lyrics). There was an exception to this when the phantom – played by John Cudia – sang, even I got goose bumps.

So would I recommend it to the average person like me?? – definitely if you haven’t tasted live theatre yet and want to – its an unforgettable experience. But make sure to check reviews on the cast, but if John Cudia is heading it again – definitely check it in your town. If I ever score free tickets or have the 100 dollars and time to spare – which isn’t a lot considering how much we can blow at a bar in a night – I am definitely for a Return to the Phantom.

Until the next time, adiós!

Tips: for the cash strapped (aka me & my friends) the last week of a theatrical show – they sell the tickets at unbelievably low prices (we’re talking up to 50% off) the caveat is that these are the left over and unsold tickets – so their single or pairs of seats usually at the rear of the theatre but time it right and you might just get really lucky. I also heard that some of my friends partook of an afternoon at a bar drinking and smokin’ before the show – the show must have been a mind blowing visual and audio treat for them – I was dead sober because I had a date!

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