After much anticipation, we finally managed to catch Andrew Llyod Webber's masterpiece 'The Phantom of the Opera' at Istana Budaya and all we have to say is… wow.
Well, there’s more but that pretty much sums it up.
The set was magical, the singing was glorious and the orchestra was just amazing (and it’s also Malaysian with some foreigners in the band).
Rojak Daily was given the chance to go backstage and get a glimpse into how the how the magic on stage is created.
It really takes a village and technology to create the kind of musical that has captured the imagination of millions of people over 33 years.
Stage manager Sandie Bekavac said the set that we see may look just like the ones at Broadway or the West End, but it has been re-engineered to make moving easier and more cost effective.
“The chandelier itself used to weigh about one ton but now it’s much lighter. We have technology that allows us to move the set more easily and accommodate them in smaller space," she said.
The update in technology is also why Malaysia and other Asian countries that have never hosted the show have been able to do it this time around.
There were hundreds of costumes including wigs, props, lighting and special effects used to create a world that viewers get absorbed into.
The backstage was almost as big, if not bigger, than the stage itself.
One of the most mind-blowing things we saw was how the stairs, which appears in the "Masquerade" song that could hold at least a dozen people, was folded and stored in a tight sport above the stage.
And how an unassuming-looking-remote-control-controlled canoe can look magical when it’s on stage with all those special effects.
We wouldn’t want to spoil the magic for you by revealing all the little secrets we found out, but trust us when we say that a lot of sweat and attention goes into creating a show of Phantom’s caliber.
The show itself, as we mentioned, was wow.
We’ll be honest and say that while we generally loved the songs, the first half was a little slow going but the set (yes, we just can’t get over how amazing it was) and the talent of the actors made up for it.
For someone petite, Meghan Picerno, who plays Christine, sure has a big voice. Jonathan Roxmouth and Matt Leisy, who played Phantom and Christine’s childhood-friend-turned-love-interest Raoul respectively, were also spectacular in their roles.
We can’t forget about the rest of the cast who played their characters - small or big - with dedication.
The drama and emotions, which is what carries the story, can be clearly felt throughout the show, and at the end of it many stood up to give the cast and crew a standing ovation.
The reaction of the audience really do feed the artistes as we found out from the main actors themselves.
“Right now, we’re making history. We’ve had three sold out performances. Malaysian audience have been amazing. They’re excited and we’re excited. And it’s really be quite an experience,” said Picerno.
The actors also want more people to enjoy the show.
“I hope you continue to come. The show is a timeless, epic love story...it’s got something for everyone.
“It’s the original staging from Broadway and West End, it’s classic, timeless, has amazing songs, a brand-new set and costumes. It’s also got amazing cast so yeah...come see us,” said Leisy.
No matter how many new shows are shot and aired in cinemas, television and streaming channels, the experience of watching a theatre production is completely mesmerising and worth spending money on.
In Roxmouth’s words - “the show is even better than Netflix and there’s no buffering!”
Get your tickets for the show, which will be running till July 7, via Ticketcharge here. The play runs for about three hours (including break) so be prepared for a full night of drama and songs.