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Phantom's 10th

Fans of The Phantom of the Opera gathered at Barrymores on 45th for a pre-show get together on Monday, Jan 26. And the date is important because the Phantom was celebrating his birthday. 10 years on Broadway.

The get together at Barrymores was a lot of fun for the theater fans who surf the web. We had a packed room and it was suggested that everyone get up in turn and introduce themselves and where they were from. It was great fun meeting Ed Feldman, Joseph Molnar, and Christina D'Angelo for the first time. The staff at Barrymores were more than kind. A good time was had by all.

After the performance of Phantom, we all were wondering if Andrew Lloyd Webber would show at the curtain call. He didn't, but Cameron Mackintosh did and he read a fax from Harold Prince and a note from Andrew who is in hopital.

The cast performed a special "Masquerade" after bows and then the Phantom, Thomas James O'Leary, thanked his leading lady, Tracy Shayne. Her performance on Monday was her last. She had been in the show for four years. Black and white balloons were released from above and floated throughout the theater and silver glitter exploded in the ceiling covering everyone in sparkles.

It was a special night in the theater as the electricity was everywhere, especially in the balcony where the die hard fans sat. As a memento of the event all fans were given large full color souveneir programs and special dated Playbills.

Tidbits: I caught Ragtime on Sunday at the new Ford Center. The place is stunning; it's also big. Essentially, the show is the exact same show that is performed in Los Angeles. I wanted to see Audra McDonald in the role of Sarah and also the roles of Mother and Tateh performed by other actors. And they were all good. People in L.A., though, should know that there is virtually no difference in the show, 'cept we got Stokes now. And Brian Stokes Mitchell continues to give his utterly flawless performance as Coalhouse Walker.

Next was The Last Session which I saw on Sunday evening. Any good? I'll tell you next in my column. I'm seeing the show again on Wednesday with Melinda.

It's noon. Have you ever been in the Duffy Square area at noon? Next time you are, stop in your tracks and listen carefully over the din of the city and you'll hear it, the church bells. No ordinary ding dongs either. They play "Give My Regards to Broadway."

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