Movie Review: A Broadway Performance in Quarantine

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Shows like this one and many others will be able to be streamed for a limited time on the YouTube channel The Shows Must Go On

Julius Perez, Reporter

Since April 12, all Broadway performances have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many fans of high production theater were disappointed to hear this news regarding one of their favorite forms of entertainment.

Recently, however, one of the most famous composers of musical theater Andrew Lloyd Webber announced the launch of a new YouTube channel The Shows Must Go On. The channel features new recorded productions of his stage shows that will premiere every Friday at 1 p.m. CST and will be available to watch for 48 hours for free.

These streaming events garner millions of views, and there is an option to donate to the Actors Fund, a COVID-19 emergency relief program to help actors and theater workers hurt by the pandemic. The donations from the Phantom of the Opera showing alone brought in over $500,000 for the relief effort. 

I watched the 2011 production of The Phantom of the Opera, which was performed in the Royal Albert Hall in London. This rendition had Sierra Boggess playing the leading female role of Christine Daae and Ramin Karimloo playing the infamous Phantom. 

I have not seen many plays or musicals, but a production like this makes me eager to see more. The visual and lighting effects enhanced the story, and I was immersed and invested in the world and the characters who inhabited it. The seamless combination of impressive choreography, breath-taking singing moments and live orchestral ensemble provided an engaging and truly entertaining musical show.  

Since this is a musical, all of the characters sing their lines. Being in a large performance hall, the actors  go over the top with their delivery to be heard all over the enormous room, even with microphones. This made it difficult to hear what they were saying at times and figure out what was going on or why certain characters were upset. There were also moments where characters would sing over each other or at the same time, which also made it difficult to know who was talking to who and what they were trying to say. 

Although this is a slight annoyance, it took very little away from the monumental talent of the performers and amazing songs they put on. The Phantom of the Opera leaves you with tunes you’ll be humming for days. The constant use of certain musical motifs and themes sets the entire story as one grand unit perfectly fitted for itself. Performances range from the awe-inspiring and fun Masquerade to the solemn and insightful solo Wish You Were Somehow Here Again performed by the majestic Sierra Boggess. 

Watching a recording of a stage show can only do so much to capture the atmosphere and grandeur of being there in person, but having these plays available to watch for free can make quarantine a bit less monotonous and is doing good by raising money for a meaningful cause.