From the moment the curtain rises, Cameron Mackintosh’s production of “The Phantom of the Opera” at the Fox Theatre is a dazzling and thrilling experience. Featuring an innovative set design and a multitude of special effects, audience members are sure to be delighted by the presentation of the popular musical.

Derrick Davis, who plays the Phantom, leads Katie Travis, who plays Christine, down a flight of stairs during a performance of ‘The Phantom of the Opera.’ Photo by Matthew Murphy.

“The Phantom of the Opera” tells the story of an aspiring singer, Christine, and the legendary Phantom, a musical genius who takes her under his wing. Shunned throughout his life because of a facial deformity, the Phantom hides behind a mask, living within the depths of the opera theater he has made his home. Christine finds the Phantom both inspiring and terrifying, and he begins to fall in love with her — but as the story progresses and Christine becomes more successful, the Phantom becomes more volatile and dangerous, threatening the entire opera company.

Debuting on Broadway in 1988, “The Phantom of the Opera” is the longest running show in Broadway history. Currently, the North American Tour is one of the largest productions on tour with a cast and orchestra of 52, and features Derrick Davis in the titular role of the Phantom and Katie Travis in the role of Christine. The show also features Jordan Craig as Raoul, Trista Moldovan as Carlotta and Anne Kanengeiser as Madame Giry. Popular songs from renowned composer Andrew Lloyd Webber are performed, including “Think of Me,” “Masquerade” and “Music of the Night.”

For the most part, the cast delivers solid performances with their singing and acting. Travis, unfortunately, is the least impressive in her portrayal of Christine. While her singing is excellent, she comes across as too earnest and spirited to really capture the naive and gentle qualities of the character. There never seems to be a point where the audience falls in love with her in the same way that both the Phantom and Raoul have.

The company of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ performs ‘Masquerade.’ Photo by Alastair Muir.

Thankfully, Davis’ portrayal of the Phantom is downright electrifying. His performance stands out from the rest of the cast, yet in a way that also elevates the performances of everyone around him. He encompasses the high drama and emotion of the character, successfully making him equal parts the sympathetic victim and the terrorizing villain.

Davis’ performance is well supported by the dramatic set design. Every scene contains some kind a surprise within the set, from secret rooms to disappearing stairs. The show also incorporates pyrotechnics and special effects, altogether creating a sense of magic that carries the audience through the story from start to finish.

The limited engagement at the Fox Theatre runs through Sunday, March 5, with showtimes in the evenings during the week and both matinee and evening showtimes during the weekend.

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