Local critics mixed on Minneapolis premiere of updated 'Phantom'

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Following preview performances in Providence, Rhode Island, earlier this month, an updated version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's iconic musical "The Phantom of the Opera" is making its official U.S. premiere with a three-week run at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis.

The local reviews are mixed on the touring Broadway production, which opened last Friday and runs through Jan. 5.

Star Tribune critic Rohan Preston opens his review with a calming tone, telling "Phantom" fanatics that the modernized version of the classic musical "is still a thrill." Preston says the show "boasts the same compelling score, simplified but still eye-catching design, loads of pyrotechnics and a stellar cast."

Preston added that the new production is no better or worse than the original, and the main difference comes with the up-to-date technology that transforms the set "seamlessly into all the different realms and milieus that the show inhabits."

Pioneer Press reviewer Dominic P. Papatola highlighted how the production has changed in tone. He found "Phantom" to be "incrementally less creepy and slightly more murderous, reflecting the darker thematic hue of a moody, shadow-laden production."

Papatola says the "cast is large, lush and competent if not exceptional," but felt the chemistry between the heroine Christine (Julia Udine) and Phantom (Mark Campbell) was "largely missing."

The production also stars Ben Jacoby in the pivotal role of Raoul, Christine's lover who finds himself thrown in the middle of the chaos the Phantom creates.

Since it debuted on London's West End in 1986, "The Phantom of the Opera" has played to more than 130 million people worldwide.

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