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So question for my Les Mis people. Why is there such attachment to the turntable?
Not criticizing it, just curious as to why it seems to be the first thing people bring up when they talk original vs 25th.

It was such a focal point, without really being a focal point, with the staging of the original show. And I recall a big deal was always made about it with the tours, with adapting stages for it.

It became inextricably linked to idea of Les Mis. What would Phantom be without the chandelier, or Miss Saigon without the helicopter? :)

My only thing with that is that both the helicopter and chandelier are linked directly to the show’s plot, and without it, they would have to change lines in the show or important plot points. Look what happened with Phantom’s 25th anniversary UK Tour where the chandelier barely moved. Without the helicopter in Miss Saigon, wouldn’t a climactic scene just be really awkward?

And the turntable is definitely a great bit of design and staging, but it’s not needed to progress the story. I understand the appeal and how cool it is, but if the show can play effectively without it, why such criticism when it’s taken away and replaced with other stunning effects?

I don’t know why some people insist that the show MUST have the turntable.  It’s great and I will certainly never forget how impressive it was the very first time I saw the original national tour.  Especially when the barricade rotated to reveal the dead Enjolras.  It was genuinely breathtaking, even from the next-to-last seat at the far right of the upper balcony.  After seeing the show a few more times, though, it was still impressive as an effective bit of stage design, but it certainly wasn’t what carried the show;  the story, the music, the performances all did that.  The turntable just helped.

When I saw the Walnut Street production in 2008, there was no turntable.  It’s a small house and, even if they’d wanted one, it wouldn’t have really worked out very well.  And it was not missed.  There was never a single scene where I took my mind off the story and performances and thought, “You know, this scene would really work better on the turntable.”  The barricades first appeared at the back of the stage and came forward slowly with what was meant to be blood-red sunlight illuminating them.  It didn’t have the massive scale I was used to,  but it was equally effective in its own way.

I didn’t hear anyone complaining about the lack of a turntable after the show, either.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the old turntable for what it was and, if a future production wants to incorporate in some way, I’m fine with that.

But I’ve never bought a ticket because of the turntable.


rjdaae replied to your post “seriously though it blows my mind like hugh panaro doesn’t use social…”

He’s…not good with computers. Except when he’s hitting them with hammers, apparently.

I’ve heard! I just hope someone is telling him that people really like him a lot. Well. Not in a creepy way? Just, people adore his interpretation so much

Oh, he knows. He”s seen it in the audience and at the stage door.  I’ve seen him close to tears on a couple of occasions when fans and friends have been really supportive and appreciative.  And I forward some really, really lovely e-mails to him from fans…notes that make me smile when I hit the SEND button.

He definitely knows.


Anonymous asked:

I don't mean to upset no one, I just want to understand. I really don't get this Hugh panaro frenzy. He's phantom is ridiculous and inauthentic. They say it's because he's based on kay!phantom but I read it and don't see it. Please educate me


I mean, at the end of the day, I guess it’s all personal preference. If you consider his sassy, child-like character ridiculous, then that’s certainly your opinion. But inauthentic? I definitely don’t see that at all. That man puts more emotion and more of himself into the role than anyone else ever has. I’ve always felt like it’s not just a role, but rather an extension of himself in a way. And that’s about as authentic as it gets!

And on that note, that’s personally what I think so many fans connect with. He is very open about ways in which he personally relates to the Phantom, and it truly does make it that much more real to an audience. He isn’t up there faking it. He’s taking his life and his personal experiences and incorporating them into this character. So as a result, instead of seeing just a one-dimensional being, we see this complicated, dynamic man onatage. I have literally seen that man crying onstage during performances. Not fake crying, but real crying from bringing so much of himself to the surface. Again, if that isn’t genuine and authentic, then I don’t know what is!

And in general, I would argue that nobody quite understands the character on the level that Hugh does. He really incorporates the many different sides of the Phantom, and brings every nuance of the character to life. This is again most likely due to the fact that he relates so heavily to the character, but is also a testament to the raw and empathetic talent that he has as an actor. And then there’s the fact that he literally always switches his character every night. I’ve seen him live ands the Phantom well over 60 times (some days back to back), and I’ve NEVER felt like I ever got the same show twice. There have been a few other Phantoms that have been extremely repetitive to me, and Hugh is certainly not one of them. I never knew what he was going to do night after night. I knew that it was going to be good, but I never truly knew what I was going to get with him. And that, after over 2,000 performances, is incredible.

As far as the Susan Kay influence, he comes about as close as I’ve ever seen anyone. Susan Kay’s version of Erik is particularly known for being quick-witted and sassy, much like Hugh’s Phantom. No, he’s not a carbon copy of Kay’s Phantom, but that’s just another testament to how many different sides and elements that he brings to his Phantom.

Since I’m pretty biased, I don’t usually bother to say anything when someone says they don’t like Hugh.

I wouldn’t call it a “frenzy,” but I think a lot of fans just loved him in the role because he was damned good.  Which doesn’t mean he needs to be everyone’s favorite.

Like turnofthescorpian said, he brings a lot of his personal experiences to the character.

I’ve known him over nine years now…I’ve laughed so hard at his innocently inappropriate humor and I’ve cried on his shoulder.  So, every time I watch him in the role, whether it’s live or a video, I constantly see hints of the “real” Hugh - whether it’s a certain inflection on a word or a gesture I’ve seen him use in ordinary conversation or his emotional reaction to another character.  But even as I’m sitting there seeing those hints and thinking, “Oh, that’s all Hugh right there,” he never stops making me believe that, for the time he’s on stage, he IS the character.

The funny thing for me about the Kay novel is that I really dislike it.  I bought that book when it was first published;  I was crazy for anything Phantom back then and went to Barnes & Noble to get it as soon as they got it in stock.  I read it and thought, “O.K., it’s good.  Not great.  Probably won’t read it again.”  (And I’m the sort who will re-read a book until it falls apart if I really like it).  I loaned it to a friend and forgot about it until he was moving out of state years later.  He found it while packing and returned it.  I started to read it again, got bored, and put it away until after the 2004 movie was released.  I pulled it out of storage and read it again and didn’t like anything about it.  Well, maybe not quite “anything.”  Every now and then, I like a phrase or two…and that’s it.  I wouldn’t say I hate it, but it’s on my short list of least favorite books ever.  So one doesn’t have to like the Kay novel to appreciate Hugh’s performance.

I actually didn’t know that Hugh drew anything from the novel until after his final performance in 2005.  By then, I’d already seen him about a dozen times in the role and been completely mesmerized by his performance vocally and reduced to tears by his acting (and never felt like I’d seen the same performance twice).  So, when I found out he did use Kay’s book for inspiration, I decided to read it one more time.  I liked it even less and personally didn’t see anything of it in Hugh’s performance…except maybe the sarcasm and sass, but I see a lot of that in Hugh off-stage, too, and I’ve seen bits of it in other roles.

As for not liking his Phantom…or any other actor’s…that’s totally a matter of choice.  I know people who love Hugh’s voice, but not his interpretation of the character and other people who love his acting, but dislike his voice.  Can’t please everyone. 


Anonymous asked:

Do you know when we can expect the Kevin Gray memorial CD?


I haven’t heard a word about it since that video clip of Hugh singing AIAOY was released. I’d imagine they’re doing it as quickly as possible.

There were a few more studio sessions in recent weeks (including recording “He Lives In You” and “Bui Doi.”)  Still no word on when it’ll be finished and released, though.

O.K., since someone involved in the project mentioned it on Facebook, I suppose I should at least mention it here.  Hugh will have an album coming out.  I’ve known the essentials for a bit, but I can’t say anything more and I’m still waiting on a few more details from everyone involved.

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