February 15, 2016
2 mins read

Missing Event Data


Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom dualcritics@comcast.net

The Florida State College of Jacksonville Broadway Artist Series, as part of its celebration of fifty years of presenting outstanding theatre, has brought the new “Phantom of the Opera” to the Times-Union Center in downtown Jacksonville. The production opened on February 10th, 2016 and will remain on stage through February 21st in the Moran Theatre. For ticket information, call (904) 442-2929 or visit fscjartistseries.org.

As we approached the TU Center for Friday’s performance, we saw one of the large tractor trailers used to transport costumes and sets. The side displayed the musical’s now iconic logo, along with large letters that advised patrons to “TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND BE PREPARED TO BE DAZZLED!” And we truly were dazzled, as you will also be, so don’t miss it.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 6 - Katie Travis and Chris Mann - photo Matthew MurphyAs we write this, we don’t know if you are among the 130 million theatre goers worldwide who have seen this show, which has been on Broadway for 26 years. If yes, you may be wondering what is “new.” Phantom’s story, adapted from Gaston Leroux’s novel remains essentially the same, with some changes in tone and character. However, you will find this production has exciting new choreography and orchestration. It is passionately acted and gorgeously designed. The set is a wonder to behold, with a two-story revolving structure in center stage that swiftly becomes the ornate owner’s office, and evolves into the ballroom, the backstage, and the Phantom’s underground hideaway.

The costumes are spectacular and breathtaking. And while any version of this musical requires the famous chandelier, in this production it becomes a part of the play very early, with a dramatic drop at the end of the first act.

The musical features a cast of some forty incredibly talented singers and dancers. The three THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 14 - Storm Lineberger - photo Matthew Murphyleads, Chris Mann (The Phantom), Katie Travis (Christine), and Storm Lineberger (Raoul), all have voices that soar. The orchestra under the direction of Dale Rieiling plays the score with the elegance which it demands. We caught every note with the magnificent sound system. The lighting is equally as galvanizing and astonishing.

We have seen many Artist Series musicals over the years, as have many other North Florida patrons. Technical advances in lighting, sound, and construction materials make today’s musicals a high-quality experience, and, as exemplified by this road show production, result in shows as splendid as if audience members were seeing them on Broadway.

The Phantom of the Opera is a musical that transports the audience into a different world that could only exist in theatre. “The Music of the Night,” the most famous song, is one that will linger with you long after you have left the theatre.

The Dual Critics of EU Jacksonville have been reviewing plays together for the past nine years. Dick Kerekes has been a critic since 1980, starting with The First Coast Entertainer and continuing as the paper morphed into EU Jacksonville. Leisla Sansom wrote reviews from time to time in the early 80s, but was otherwise occupied in the business world. As a writing team, they have attended almost thirty Humana Festivals of New America Plays at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, and many of the annual conferences sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association, which are held in cities throughout the country.

They have reviewed plays in Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Sarasota, Minneapolis, Orlando, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota, San Francisco, Shepherdstown, and The Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Massachusetts. They currently review about one hundred plays annually in the North Florida area theaters, which include community, college, university, and professional productions.

Current Issue


Submit Events




Current Month

Follow FOLIO!

Previous Story

moving and thought-provoking “Mothers and Sons”

Next Story

Bragan leads a Suns-heavy 2016 Southern League Hall of Fame Class

Latest from Downtown

Bold Love Fest

Words by Emily Cannon A festival for bold love in the Bold City, the Bold Love Fest is a concert and festival celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride for all. The inaugural event, producedy by Bold Events, will take place at Daily’s Place on June 15. The festival will feature artists such as

The Effects of Redlining and Food Deserts in Jacksonville 

Words by Kelila Ritchie In a city where Whole Foods, Publix and Fresh Market can amicably exist within a three-mile radius from each other; just on the other side of a connecting bridge, an entire community struggles to make ends meet daily.   This is the situation in District

Welcome Aboard

Shipyard Social takes the concept of a party to uncharted waters. Words by Ambar Ramirez My weekend nightlife routine has consisted of going to the beach bars, Silent Disco at Rootdown or simply staying in, so when I got an extended (and slightly vague) invite to a party on

 Raising the Bar: Hardwicks

Words by Kelila Ritchie “Refreshing, welcoming and different.” These are three words Sarah Merritt used to describe her new gig as a bartender at Hardwicks Bar. Located in the Elbow District Downtown (in the old London Bridge space), Hardwicks is the perfect place to go if you want

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams New multi-purpose field inspires change in Northwest Jacksonville Words by Carson Rich There has always been something to do in Jacksonville, and now you can add one more thing to that list. The Boys and Girls Club of Northeast opened a new multi-purpose field at their location

Don't Miss

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Fresh Retelling of Cinderella Comes to Jacksonville

When Hayden Stanes first learned that Tatyana Lubov would be


PHANTOM – ’s spectacular new production of ’s has come