Also recognized is the sturdy ambition of the ensemble lead dancer Michael Mikanin, showcasing the skills of choreographers Lisa Stoddard and Shani Robinson. Gayle Lockwood is to thank for the splendid musical direction, and at the baton of the massive 40-piece pit orchestra is Christian Smith, seeming not to notice the occasional out-of-tune instruments.
With one exception, the costumes by a quartet of designers, is grand and wonderfully detailed. The second-act opener “Masquerade” has the cast in metallic golds and silvers, rather than the signature devil red, and Christine is oddly princess-like in tiara and pastel pinks and blues. The opulence of the costuming tends to overplay the conventional set with projections that establish locations outside the opera house and unnecessarily punctuate characterizations. Watching the Phantom play chess on one of the screens is particularly heavy-handed.
Undoubtedly director Tim Threlfall’s shirt buttons are bursting off with pride. With "The Phantom of the Opera" he takes on the ambitious task and earns the accolades he’ll be receiving for his superb work with the students.
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