As before, I admit when I was a 16 year old teenager I loved Phantom...though as the years pass it gets more and more eyerolling. "Christine! Angel!" Indeed. The Phantom was a wacko and Raul was a doofus.
I think I have figured out the appeal though.
Phantom of the Opera is every teenage girls ultimate wish fulfillment musical.
Look how pretty and talented and misunderstood Christine is! Suddenly though, she's the star, everybody loves her and her really big problem is which 2 men who utterly adore her will she choose? The dark and mysterious and (yes) dangerous older man or her now suddenly handsome, popular and (yes) very rich childhood sweetheart ? Darn, talk about real life tough choices! I mean, come ON!
And how CONVENIENT the Phantom gives in and quits terrorizing her after she ultimately decides to go with the pretty safe boy. Talk about decisions with NO consequences. Snort!
So, Phantom of the Opera will always be popular as long as there are young girls who wish they were Christine and had her problems. I'm trying to figure out the appeal for the guys though. Thoughts?
On the other hand, let us consider the winner of the 87 Tony Award for Best New Musical which righteously and properly kicked Phantoms butt:
Into the Woods tackles many meaty issues and like real life, doesn't always neatly wrap up quite as nicely as a fairy tale. The first act ends with "Happily Ever After." The second act is, whoops! What HAPPENED after! Children are born, people die, hard decisions are made, people are betrayed, people are given support by unlikely sources, people blame mothers...it's messy and thrilling and way more throught provoking.
Instead of cliched characters, Into the Woods doesn't turn them upside down but insteads offers different lighting on them. For example ITW makes you think about the following:
Yeah, that wolf was hungry to devour Little Red, but she DID stray off the path. And dude, her mother warned her!
Princes are born to be charming...not sincere.
Just WHY was Rapunzel locked into that tower?
Even the other characters think it strange Cinderella can talk to birds.
Jack is really not the same boy after climbing that beanstalk.
Anyway, ramble ramble ramble. But yeah...Into the Woods kicks Phantom of the Opera's pretentious hiney. So there.