PLAYBILL ON A HISTORIC NIGHT: The Phantom of the Opera; The Power of the Music of the Knight

By Harry Haun
28 Jan 2013

Harold Prince
Photo by Monica Simoes

Lording majestically over the action on the Majestic stage (as well he should) from his box seat was the man who fine-tuned the fine tunes, director Harold Prince. Seated beside him in the front mezzanine left center black-and-gold box were his daughter, Daisy Prince, and his longtime friends, John McMartin (his memorable Ben Stone and Cap'n Andy) and Irish Rep artistic director Charlotte Moore.

Days away from his Jan. 30 85th birthday, he nevertheless bounded to the stage like a teenager, moved his eye glasses to the top of his bald pate (the stock Hal Prince battle-station pose) and joined Sir Cameron in dispensing thanks and reading telegrams from MIA major players like Crawford and choreographer Gillian Lynne, who was tied up with leading Betty Buckley in a London tech of Dear World.

The late Maria Bjornson, whose lush sets and costumes still sca-ream rococo-rich Victorian elegance, was remembered, and — in a typically generous, Princely gesture — so was the whole army it takes backstage to put the show on; they came forth to take a bow. When all was said and done, the stage resembled the populous of Providence, RI.

Then the ranks receded, leaving the night's Christine, Sierra Boggess, to make some heart-soaring "Music of the Night" with Broadway's tenth and current Phantom, Hugh Panaroand three international Phantoms: John Owen Jones, Ramin Karimloo and Peter Jöback (the latter will join the Broadway company in April). They wrapped the show in an emotional crescendo.

The evening ended with a bang of exploding canisters that sent confetti showering down on a glammed-up audience in tuxes and gowns. With the legendary chandelier dripping in tinsel streamers, the crimson curtain fell on Phantom's 25th anniversary performance. With that elaborate extra inning, it ran from 6:52 PM to 10:04 PM.