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By: Tori Kuhr

At 29 years, “The Phantom of the Opera” is the longest running musical on Broadway. Since opening in 1988, little has changed, other than those related to advances in technology.

“The Phantom of the Opera” is considered Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical since he wrote the book of the same name and also serves as the composer. Webber more-or-less created everything ado with “Phantom” from the ground up, but, generally, another person usually is expected to set the production in motion. He has four musicals on Broadway: “School of Rock,” “Cats,” “Sunset Boulevard” and “Phantom of the Opera.” The sequel to “Phantom of the Opera,” “Love Never Dies,” is set to go on tour in the near future.

Rosemarie Budhwa, a freshman student at the Mount who attended the Phantom-bound trip said, “Andrew Webber is one of the big names in Broadway. Anyone into musicals knows his name right away.”

Actor James Barbour played the popular, titular Phantom at the April 22, 2017 show. Before Phantom, he had taken on roles like the Beast in an adaptation of “Beauty in the Beast” and Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables.” He also has many TV credits, including “The District,” “Just Shoot Me,” “Flashpoint,” “Sex in the City,” “Ed,” “That’s Life,” and many others. Additionally, Barbour has been in multiple films, has various released recordings, two solo CDs and his own production company, “Laughing Dog Media.”

Usually, the Phantom is played by a tenor, but Barbour is a bass. He’s one of the first bases to play the Phantom. Having a Phantom with a different-than-usual voice brings a unique flair to both the character and the show no audience could predict beforehand.

Budhwa said, “That’s it, he’s perfect. Ten out of ten.”

The impressed Budhwa sees the Phantom as the most developed character, nor can spot a single imperfection in Barbour’s portrayal. She claims there was not a single bad note the Phantom sang, and that she would change nothing about him. Budhwa is just one of many audience members who would gladly share this same sentiment, and jump at the chance to see Barbour and the entire cast of “The Phantom of the Opera” again.