The first time I saw Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom, I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Of course, I didn’t see much. From my seat buried in the back section of the orchestra, the falling chandelier was barely visible.
The Phantom music was everywhere in 1989, or it certainly seemed that way. Despite any real effort on my part, I became familiar with the songs and contrary to the old adage, familiarity did not breed contempt.
The next time I saw the Phantom—and every time since—I was entranced.
How do you improve on a classic?
What if the Phantom doesn’t end with Erik fleeing through underground tunnels? What if Christine were Christian?
Questions Joel Abernathy asks and answers with his book, “Masquerade: An MM Phantom of the Opera retelling.
I’m not usually a fan of ‘retelling’ versions of beloved stories, but Joel handles the transition well, keeping the original flavour while adding a touch of spice. His Christian, while as young and sheltered as Andrew’s Christine, is more than a myopic, sentimental wuss.
With his sequel to the Phantom, “Love Never Dies,”
Andrew wrote Erik a happy ending of sorts, giving him a son, but having Christine die in his arms. Joel skips the heart-wrenching and goes straight to the happy ending which is fine with me.
Now, when I hear Andrew’s “Think of me”
I think of Joel’s “Masquerade.”