The Cardinal

Broadway musical theater showdown: The Phantom of the Opera vs. My Fair Lady

Isabella Audia

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






!!!Warning – Spoilers ahead!!!

As many students probably noticed, the last week of March Canfield experienced a dip in attendance by the vocally gifted.  On Wednesday, March 25, the Canfield Choir department took approximately 50 members to New York City. Over the duration of their three day trip, the choir saw two Broadway shows: The Phantom of the Opera, and My Fair Lady.  If you happen to find yourself in New York, and are interested in either of these shows, here is a run down and comparison of two shows.

The Phantom of the Opera follows Christine Daae, a chorus dancer turned leading lady at the Opera Populaire.  Living in the dungeon-esque sewers beneath the Paris opera house is the Phantom, a societal outcast wearing a mask to hide his disfigured face, who “haunts” the Opera Populaire.  Mistaking the Phantom as the “angel of music” whom her father promised to send to her, Christine allows the Phantom to tutor her in vocal performance while he blackmails the owners of the opera house into giving her large parts.  After Christine falls for arts benefactor and childhood friend, Raoul, the Phantom produces a scheme to keep Christine from leaving him behind.

My Fair Lady tells the story of flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, and phonetics professor, Henry Higgins.  When they cross paths one day on the streets of London, Professor Higgins bets a cologue, Colonel Pickering, that within six months he can transform the poor flower girl into a society lady by teaching her “proper” English, as opposed to her current cockney accent.  Professor Higgins treats Eliza as more of a prop rather than a person but throughout the months they form a strange codependent relationship.

While it is important to note that both of these fabulous shows are wildly praised by the theatre community and thoroughly enjoyed by the Canfield choir students, some aspects of each show stood out as being “better” than the other.  

In regards to the music, The Phantom of the Opera really shines.  Phantom’s soundtrack is nothing short of epic, with every song leaving an impression.  The music is woven so seamlessly into the plot that you sometimes don’t know where songs start or end.  This maintains the story’s fast pace, preventing it from feeling too slow or dragging. Due to the occasional sing-speaking, some songs are a little harder to understand upon your first time hearing the music.  Songs like “Notes/Prima Donna” include multiple characters discussing and bickering, which means lots of people singing over each other (all in their french accents too). This may prove to be slightly confusing to people new to musical theatre.  

On the other hand, the music in My Fair Lady is okay.  Certain songs certainly stand out as classic show tunes while some felt a little unnecessary.  In the context of the show, the songs were very defined. While making it easy to follow, this also creates a sense of lag within the show.  The some songs feel like almost a break from the plot instead of a continuation or enhancement of the plot. But for the most part, the plot of My Fair Lady progresses steadily, keeping viewers enthralled with the story.  

If you have ever seen the movie-musical version of My Fair Lady, you may recall the final scene.  The last scene of both versions of My Fair Lady, show Eliza returning to Professor Higgins (presumably to give him a second chance) and Professor Higgins, refusing to change his selfish ways, demands she bring him his slippers.  In the movie, Eliza compliess and brings him the slippers, accepting the place that he had been attempting to put her in throughut the show. While this ending may please the hopelessly romantic viewers, it does not give Eliza’s character the “happy ending” that she deserves.  This is also the way that the original Broadway show ended. In creating the current Broadway revival, the ending had been changed. The current version of the show on Broadway has slightly more feminist undertones. In the final scene, Eliza approaches Mr. Higgins, tenderly touches his face and then leaves the house without saying a word.  This gives Eliza the ending she deserves by reclaiming her independence. This ending also shows Professor Higgins in a new light. As Eliza leaves his house, he smiles sadly, as if he is proud of Eliza, in a way, for finally standing up for herself. Higgins’ expression could also be taken as his happiness and acceptance that she is happy.

Personally, I think that My Fair Lady is an enjoyable musical (it’s not my favorite) but the new ending put the show, at least for me, on a whole new level.  Over all, I recommend My Fair Lady for those new to musical theater or to those familiar with the songs. The Phantom of the Opera is one of my favorite musicals of all time and I would recommend it to anyone.  It may be a little confusing to those not used to musicals, but listening to the soundtrack or watching the movie before seeing the show may help. It really depends on what you look for in a musical. I, personally like Phantom better, but if that’s not your cup of tea, My Fair Lady is another great show.  If you find yourself in NYC, either of these shows would provide you with a great night at the theater!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Broadway musical theater showdown:  The Phantom of the Opera vs. My Fair Lady

    Entertainment

    5 Stars For I, Tonya (movie review)

  • Broadway musical theater showdown:  The Phantom of the Opera vs. My Fair Lady

    Entertainment

    The ultimate couple versus couple triathlon

  • Broadway musical theater showdown:  The Phantom of the Opera vs. My Fair Lady

    Entertainment

    A thoroughly scientific analysis of Ant-Man’s antics

  • Broadway musical theater showdown:  The Phantom of the Opera vs. My Fair Lady

    Entertainment

    Avengers: Infinity War – a breakdown of the penultimate film to the MCU

  • Broadway musical theater showdown:  The Phantom of the Opera vs. My Fair Lady

    Entertainment

    Avengers: Infinity War – A spoiler-filled review

  • Broadway musical theater showdown:  The Phantom of the Opera vs. My Fair Lady

    Entertainment

    Most memorable moments from Avengers: Infinity War

  • Broadway musical theater showdown:  The Phantom of the Opera vs. My Fair Lady

    Entertainment

    Much love for Love, Simon (movie review)

  • Broadway musical theater showdown:  The Phantom of the Opera vs. My Fair Lady

    Entertainment

    Loco for Coco! (movie review)

  • Broadway musical theater showdown:  The Phantom of the Opera vs. My Fair Lady

    Entertainment

    Jump for joy at Extreme Air

  • Broadway musical theater showdown:  The Phantom of the Opera vs. My Fair Lady

    Entertainment

    Freshmen are excited for Infinity War

The student news site of Canfield High School.
Broadway musical theater showdown: The Phantom of the Opera vs. My Fair Lady