Report 2 - Review of Paul's first night
Written by Michael Anthony, Canadian Hypnotist
Tonight was a very cool night!!!
Paul Stanley did his first performance as the Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages Theatre in Toronto. Here's what happened...
Walking into the theatre was all that was needed to know that this wasn't just another Phantom of the Opera. I saw the production 9 years ago and something here was definitely different.
The people here weren't your typical theatre goers. There was a lot of long hairs and leather there tonight which was great. It was a little louder than usual as well. The souvenir tables were selling Kiss CD wallets and Kiss T-shirts, programs, CD's (Paul doesn't sing on it. It's an old release) etc.
We had some great seats, front and center section, about 8 rows back. There were a lot of Kiss fans in this section. We had some friends about 6 rows back and we had to stick our 3 fingers out (heavy metal style) and stick our tongues (Gene Simmons style) now and again just for kicks. Nobody was dressed in full Kiss garb though which kind of surprised me. I thought for sure somebody would do it. If anybody there came in make-up, I didn't see them. As far as the rest of the theatre goes, it was packed like it always is.
The show started and I was curious as to how the fans would react when Paul came on stage. I had forgotten exactly how the Phantom made his entrance. The female lead (Christine, no, not Christine 16) was singing in front of a mirror in which you could see her reflection and suddenly you hear Paul's voice singing a duet with her which was really cool. After he sang some of the song with her, his reflection appeared in the mirror with her. I expected some applause here. As it turns out, the reflection isn't actually Paul, but a body double. The double comes out of the mirror and walks down a flight of stairs. They then appear walking down a flight of stairs from way up in the air. This is actually Paul now. Not much noise from the fans yet, but you could tell they were getting excited.
I couldn't get over listening to Paul singing opera style, rolling his "R's" was really different at first. It sounded great, it was just strange hearing it from Paul Stanley.
During the first song he did seem a little nervous. His voice obviously cracked during his big note in the song, but he got over it. Hey, he's Paul Stanley, he gets paid anyway. Truthfully he was a bit out of his league with the other singers, but its a completely different style of music in which he's not formally trained. His voice would tend to be the quieter one during a duet. He just came off a big tour, his voice must be beat. Don't get me wrong, he sounded great. As far as I'm concerned, he can do no wrong. It was just cool seeing him in this role.
Before the show started I noticed a group of people in a box seat. Long hairs with leather. One guy looked a lot like Ace from where I was sitting, so at the intermission I ran to my car to get my binoculars. Turned out it wasn't him, although I don't doubt its somebody close. Some people after the show were saying it was Ace, but trust me I know, plus I had binoculars. I could practically see up the guys nose, it wasn't Ace, I'd know. Anyway, I've heard Ace, Gene and Peter will be there on Tuesday for the official press opening. There was also a young boy with them. It may have been family, who knows. During the intermission, I bought a set of postcards of Paul as the Phantom. They are posted on my website at http://www.michael-anthony.com Feel free to download them if you want, I'll be taking them off the site on Friday. Oh here's something cool, Paul used the same photographer I use for my promotional photos, Michael Cooper. I just though that was cool. Sorry. During the intermission I overheard some people saying that Paul wanted to change the Phantom logo (it's a picture of the mask) Paul wanted to put a small star in the eye. Apparently Andrew Lloyd Webber wouldn't allow it. Who knows? Maybe its true, I just thought I'd throw it at you.
During the second half, in one scene when they were saying that the Phantom didn't exist, you heard Paul voice saying "I'm here", from the far left corner of the theatre, then "I'm here", from the other side, then "I'm here" from the back, then from the balcony. It was cool.
At one point Christine tears off Pauls phantom mask and you see him with an incredible make-up job. He stays like this for much of the second half. Scarred face, opened, wet wounds, pretty much a bald head with gray hair on the sides, it was an incredible make-up job. It shows what Paul will look like when he's 90 haha. During this when he is trying to win Christine's heart, there's a scene when Paul is crawling across the stage crying and singing at the same time. Really wild. That was probably my favorite part. Either that or when he was shooting sparks from
his stick with the skull on it. (Like in the postcard) When he got angry a huge set of flash pots went off, which of course put the Kiss fans into a frenzy. I don't remember the flashpots 9 years ago.
Near the end Paul makes his exit by vanishing under a blanket while sitting on a chair and the play ends shortly thereafter.
After the applause, the characters start coming out in groups to receive their extended applause. As the actors with bigger parts started receiving bigger applause, I had a feeling it was about to get crazy. The female lead (Christine) came out and got a huge ovation. Paul was next, there was a long wait for him. People were on their feet screaming, waiting, 3 fingers extended on each hand ala heavy metal. And when he came out everyone went insane. Paul loved it he acknowledged his audience with both hands extended, just staring at them straight faced, then he paid particular attention to the fans in the front looking at them and gesturing to them. People were chanting Paul, Paul, Paul, the curtain started to close and just as Paul was about to go behind the curtain, he started to smile and laugh for the first time of the night. It was incredible. It was so cool how he acknowledged the fans in the front.
It was a fantastic evening. A must see for any Kiss fan who can get to Toronto and get tickets.
To see the postcards, click here http://www.michael-anthony.com They will be up until Friday.
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