Carlotta, the OBT's number one performer and money-maker, is threatened by the Phantom, who wants to make sure his pupil Christine gets the recognition she deserves. The Phantom is ready to kill when he becomes insanely jealous over Christine's love for return missionary Raoul... but, you know, it's funny.
Phantom of the OBT ranks up there with the funniest of OBT's most-recent parodies, Y-Light and Robin Hood: Boys in the Hood.
Unfortunately, playwright and director Eric Jensen doesn't make a cast appearance like he does in the latter plays. Instead Elise Hanson (Giry) and Clarence Strohn (Buquet/Hobo) take over Jensen's usual comic-relief role.
In addition to Giry and the Hobo, Jensen gives each character his or her own way of being funny - each with a little quirk, and not a dry acting job in the show unless it's completely intentional. It's funny throughout, from the theatre tour guide (Rocky Revels) taking cell phone calls in the middle of his narration to the Phantom (Jacob Ulasich) in a hilariously climactic scene in the tunnels below Salt Lake City.
Ulasich plays the Phantom with the perfect amount of arrogance, shame over his looks and a very subtle retardation.
Six roles are shared throughout the run, and unfortunately we can't speak on performances from actors we didn't see.
But watch for scenes where the entire OBT crew opens a letter from the Phantom and Reginald St. Reginald tries to attack the Phantom, but misses. Both occur throughout the show and I wish I had them recorded.
Jensen also throws in nods to the locals, like he usually does. "This water looks like it has bubbles of toxic chemicals in it...probably just from Manga." He also pokes fun at proposals on the first date, Utah State football and other things you might have to explain to out-of-town friends.
But Jensen also plays off a lot of mainstream material, including appearances by Jason Voorhees, references to Lady Gaga, Celine Dion and another appearance too funny to give away. He makes them fit, along with current references from the news and pop culture, but mostly, the show makes fun of the source material - which is what a parody should be.
Set designers Jensen and Frank Ackerman really did a great job, too. Actually, a lot more was put into it than expected. The Phantom's lair, the "OBT" stage and Christine's dressing room were put together well in sort of a purposely-cheesy way.
Another highlight is April Joy Tritchler's vocal performance. Once again, very well done for a play that's supposed to be pretty tongue-in-cheek. Songs are also direct parodies of songs from Phantom of the Opera.
The line I most remember from Phantom of the Opera: "Pity comes too late, turn around and face your fate."
The line I most remember from Phantom of the OBT: "Educate yo'self, fool!"
Maybe the only downside is the play is that it takes a while to become funny. Don't expect laughs right off the bat.
Saturday night's show brought out a lot of couples, but no kids. This is one the kids will definitely love. So, bring the fam. It's also sort of a romance, so a late-Valentine's date isn't out of the question.
The show runs through March 19 on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays... and is worth seeing. Click here for more info or to get tix.