There's new pyrotechnics and the iconic chandelier has added pizzazz. Dancing, lighting and set design have been updated. The story has been tweaked a bit – “We taking a more realistic approach. It's less about a magician hypnotizing Christine and more about her making choices,” says the actress who plays her, Katie Travis.
But the costumes are the same and the songs, so memorably popular with music by Andrew Lloyd Weber and lyrics by Charles Hart, remain. The Phantom of the Opera returns to Houston courtesy of Broadway at the Hobby, and in a new production by Cameron Mackintosh which tells the story of the mysterious man who haunts the opera house and the young female soprano who falls under his spell and is taken to his underground lair (by boat no less) where she discovers his secret.
Travis, who grew up in Michigan and studied opera at Central Michigan, had repeated auditions before she captured the role. She's been on tour about a year and says she never tires of telling the story and singing the music.
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“I get to sing some of the best music ever written.”
She meets a lot of repeaters along the way; audience members who have seen the show hundreds of times, she says, and those “who see it only every ten years.” She describes her character as “a really smart girl who's hit a fork in the road. She's struggling with the death of her father so she's trying to cope with that. And she's just doing the best she can. ”
As for the lasting success of Phantom, Travis says, “I think the music is incredible. I also think that everyone can kind of relate to someone in the show. It's just a show that people really love and relate to and I'm very passionate about it and what we're trying to say about showing people compassion and empathy and giving love. I think it's just an important show with a gret message and incredible music.
Performances are scheduled for November 18-29 at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and Thursday November 19. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information visit thehobbycenter.org or call 713- 315-2525. $50-$170.