On June 29, 2011, I took in the longest running show on Broadway, "The Phantom of the Opera." After 23 years on Broadway, "The Phantom of the Opera" still packs the house nightly as eager theater-goers line up outside The Majestic Theatre in New York City to experience the magic. For some this is their first introduction to Broadway and for others, it's going back to see a timeless classic.

How do you keep a show's fire going for so many years and still keep it fresh? Simple, casting talented and energetic performers such as Hugh Panaro who has once again donned the mask of "The Phantom of The Opera" which he has done numerous times before throughout the show's run. Hugh Panaro has one of the most stellar voices I have heard! He could sing for hours on end and I would sit contently to listen. One of the most beautiful moments of "The Phantom of the Opera" is when Hugh sings "Music of The Night," which perfectly demonstrates his amazingly powerful vocals as the song starts off softly, slowly building to the big finale of the song which Hugh belts out exquisitley. After performing this role for so many years, Hugh is still able to play the role as though it was his first time! Also in the cast (through July 9) is Liz McCartney as "Carlotta Giudicelli." Liz is another performer with a big booming voice and in this role she gets to really use her beautiful soprano vocals! It was a pleasure getting to hear Liz sing "Think of Me." She conquered that song better than anyone I have heard. The cast newest addition is Kyle Barisich who plays "Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny." Kyle's vocals are also strong, especially when he sings "All I Ask of You."

Hugh Panaro as "The Phantom", Photo credit: Joan MarcusOne of my other favorite moments in the show is at the top of Act II when the curtain rises and everyone is dressed in costume for "Masqerade/Who So Silent." The costume choices here were so great in the way they flow together, yet stand apart creating a colorful scenario. It's one of my favorite full company numbers as the casts' vocals blend well together. I also love "The Phantom's" lair with all the fog, which helps create it's mysteriousness. The final scenes are another favorite moment of mine, especially with Hugh belting those closing notes! So spectacular!

If you never seen "The Phantom of the Opera," now would be a good time to introduce yourself to it and if you haven't seen it in a long time, now would be a good time to revisit! 23 years later, the lights are still shining brightly over "The Phantom of the Opera" which plays at the Majestic Theatre in NYC (247 West 44th Street, between Broadway & 8th Ave). Click here for tickets!

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