In which … I gush.

Three things to say before I launch into this post:

1. If you don’t like Broadway musicals or the Phantom of the Opera, bloop bloop bloop.

2. I don’t cry easily. For serious.

3. Being as hard of hearing as I am is a very frustrating existence. It moves me to tears how frustrating an existence it can be. It’s why I avoid extraneous human interaction more often than not; like, you’ll never see me chatting up a cashier or making casual conversation with a person in an elevator. It’s why I am NEVER the one to call and order Chinese. Too stressful. It’s why I don’t go to the movies. It is the exact same thing as seeing a foreign language film without subtitles when you don’t speak a word of the language and also, someone shoved cotton in your ears. Frustrating to tears.

The same held true when I saw a Musical Christmas Carol this winter at the Byham. Remember? I heard the word “chicken” and that was it. I left at intermission.

When I saw Bryan Adams at the Byham from nine rows back, I obviously understood every word he sang, but I understood maybe five words he spoke. Grr.

I did much better when I saw Young Frankenstein a few months ago, because I was only five or seven rows back or so and I was able to read the lips a bit. I caught probably 30% of that show. Still frustrating.

All of this to say to you that last night I saw the Phantom of the Opera from the front row and I CAUGHT ALMOST EVERYTHING.

I went with my mother, Pens Fan and Princess Aurora and it was one of my favorite nights ever.

First, the thing about the Phantom of the Opera as he is written in this musical is that Andrew Lloyd Webber somehow makes what is essentially a deformed nutjob sexual predator into a pretty hot sexy guy who I’d let have his way with me. And this is the point where I realize I can probably no longer make fun of Twilight. But whatever.

Eff Twilight.

Sitting in the front row, we were obviously treated to some very nice close-ups with the actor playing Raoul. You guys, he is hot. I’m not just saying that. He stood on the edge of the stage, so close I could have spit in his eye if I had good aim — certainly, I could have hit him with my bra even with bad aim — and my sisters and I exchanged looks and then Princess Aurora began fanning herself and batting her eyelashes like Scarlett putting the moves on Rhett.

I do declare.

The first time I heard the voice of the Phantom, I got chills. The first time I caught a glimpse of him in the mirror, it was a bit breathtaking. That’s the kind of spell the music puts me in. Wherein I’m clamoring to lay my eyes on a deranged acid-washed kidnapper just so I can squee and swoon when he starts singing.


Even when the Phantom sang Music of the Night, by far my most favorite Phantom song, I found myself on Raoul’s side. That’s your girl. That’s yours. Who is this penguin-suited, mask-wearing, Opera-house squatting criminal WITH THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL GABRIEL, to steal what’s yours?! EFF THE PHANTOM, RAOUL.

My sisters agreed. We were all on Team Raoul.

But then, near the end, there was the Phantom, desperate, no mask, scarred, a few random hairs poking out of his bald head, grotesque, singing his heart out, surrounding me with music, and I fell back in love with the psycho murderous freak of nature and switched teams. EFF RAOUL. RAOUL DOESN’T SURROUND ME WITH MUSIC.

Coming, my love.

As we left the theater, I told my sisters I was now Team Phantom and they were all, “No way. We are Team Raoul. Our guy is a handsome man who saved the day and your guy is a deformed penguin.” They then MIMED A DEFORMED PENGUIN.


So, the points of this post:





I’m a front-row girl now. Wish me luck affording this lifestyle.

Oh, and for good measure … EFF TWILIGHT.


  1. Cassie
    August 28, 2010 5:10 pm

    I can’t eff twilight, because, I am in fact a huge nerd. That said, OMG I LOVE PHANTOM. I first saw it in Minneapolis with my Mom from a side balcony and I was in love.

    Then I saw it before Michael Crawford called it quits in Toronto.

    And now, I want to see it so bad while it’s here. Wonder if there are tickets still available???

  2. Nochasingiguanas
    August 28, 2010 8:11 pm

    I’m 27, hearing impaired, and will like have an implant when I’m 55 or so. I can completely empathize with your frustration.

    I saw Le Mis when it was here a while back. Decided to try out one of the assisted listening devices. Our seats were, literally, in the last row. And I heard every word. It was probably one of the most amazing things ever.

  3. Erin
    August 28, 2010 9:09 pm

    My hearing is usually fine, but I went today, sat about 20 rows back, and couldn’t hear a thing! I absolutely could not make out a word that was said. The singing was better. And from 20 rows back, I could see the hotness! And I was Team Phantom all the way – I never once sympathized with Raoul, even though my sister kept telling me I was supposed to like him.

  4. bucdaddy
    August 28, 2010 9:32 pm

    I’m hearing-impaired too. Being up close makes a big difference. So does a quality sound system. Which is why I miss maybe half of what gets said on screen in a movie theater, unless I remember to get the assisted hearing thingie. Movie theater sound sucks.

    You’d think with an aging population they’d figure out some way to do closed captioning in the theater. When I watch DVDs at home I usually have to have it on, because for some reason DVDs are very soft and I have to turn the TV up way beyond a level that’s comfortable to me when watching regular TV. I don’t know why they’re like that.

  5. Will
    August 28, 2010 10:08 pm

    I’m going to see Phantom for the first time in a few days. I cant wait!

  6. KGC
    August 28, 2010 10:18 pm

    My daughter & I went on Wednesday night.. we sat Row O (15 back) and there were times we couldn’t hear or understand a word being said… That being said (LOL), a GREAT production! My only regret is that I wish I’d have known a little more about the story line.. I knew nothing.. nothing.. before going. When I got home I googled Phantom of the Opera and read the story line.. made whole lot of sense.. maybe the garbled audio would have made sense too.

  7. Kater Tot
    August 28, 2010 10:22 pm

    Another one with crappy ears reporting in…I also avoid attending shows due the possibility of missing just about everything…I tried to get tickets to see George Strait and Reba McEntire yesterday…first day of ticket sales.. and was told that there weren’t any tickets avilable for the hearing impaired. Seriously? Seriously.

    Glad to hear that you had a fabulous night with a hot man, Ginny!

  8. Slidetuba
    August 29, 2010 3:25 am

    If you thought that was amazing, I must implore you to visit Drum Corps International’s tour stop here next summer.. You won’t miss a thing..

  9. lipreadergalore
    August 29, 2010 10:51 am

    I am deaf and love musicals and performances. I always try to get a seat near the front and have long argued that I shouldn’t have to pay extra for it because I have to sit there out of necessity. Theaters used to be more accommodating; not so much anymore!

    I always request a copy of the script so I can follow along. There’s no way I can attend otherwise, because of the degree of my hearing loss. It helps that I’m a fast reader, but it’s not easy; I miss out on some of the action. I tend to read quickly and then look up and watch. Back and forth, like a ping pong match. It gets tiring.

    What would be perfect is something like this:

    Live theater captioning. I’ve actually corresponded with the director, David Chu, who said Pittsburgh has been discussed as a likely candidate. He said the audience must first speak out. Theaters need to know there is enough local demand to support the investment.

    At least we have an excuse to be closer to the hotness!

  10. Magnus Patris
    August 29, 2010 3:32 pm

    I told you to sit IN FRONT of us at “Young Frankenstein”! Also, I’ve never been able to understand anything anyone has ever said at a concert with the possible exception of “Are you ready to rock!” My response is usually “Not quite yet, give me another 5 minutes!” Of course most of my concerts have been with long-haired, middle aged Brits with substance abuse problems, so they probably didn’t have a whole hell of a lot to say anyway. The one exception was Michael Stipe from R.E.M. who talked SO much, I was all “Shut the eff up and sing!” Ironic since all of R.E.M.’s best songs are the ones where he sings like he’s a middle aged Brit with a substance abuse problem.

  11. Carly
    August 29, 2010 10:29 pm

    I totally wish you luck in affording the front-row lifestyle.

  12. Summer
    August 29, 2010 10:29 pm

    I went, but I was on Team Christine-Should-Grow-A-Spine-Already.

    Maybe it’s just me, but am so tired of the whole damsel-in-distress bit.

  13. Moe the Dog
    August 29, 2010 10:30 pm

    Thanks to you, Virginia, me and my wife got to see the Phantom 13 rows backs Saturday night. She absolutely loved it and it made our anniversary wonderful. Thank You.

  14. Virginia
    August 30, 2010 8:00 am

    Moe, you’re welcome.

    Magnus, fret not! I wouldn’t have let you sit there if one row would have made a difference. ;) Besides, you gave me a flashing zima pin. That deserves the better seat!

  15. Pingback: That's Church » Random n’at

  16. stateOmain
    August 30, 2010 1:30 pm

    I was a little kid when Phantom came out and I was THE. Hugest. Phantom. Phan. Ever. I even created my own little Phantom Christmas paper (I still have one sheet. It’s hilarious. Little 8-year-old doodles of Phantom and Christine). Then my dad died when I was a teenager and I listened to the play with brand new ears. Instead of being all “Boo-hoo. I have a dead dad and he sent me a crazy masked man to swoon me with song,” I was all “Woah, why are we overlooking the hottness that is Raoul?!”

    Did you see the (terrible/awesome) movie version a couple years ago? I love me some Gerry Butler and all, but I would leave him in a heart beat for Patrick Wilson belting out “All I Ask Of You.” Effortlessly hawt.

  17. red pen mama
    August 30, 2010 1:44 pm

    I’m with you on EFF Twilight. Neither of those two freak boys crushing on the hapless Bella have anything on the Phantom and/or Raoul.

    I am going this Sunday (thanks for the discount) and I am so excited. SO. EXCITED.

  18. twinzmom
    August 30, 2010 3:10 pm

    I went to see Phantom a few weeks ago in Cleveland, where the understudy was on for Christine. She was a bit too enthusiastic and it was kind of like watching Carlotta play Christine. However, the Phantom was awesome and I enjoyed it thoroughly. To the other commenters who said they had trouble understanding the words, I have season tickets to the musicals coming this year and before any one, I check out from the library or purchase the CD ahead of time. I can then familiarize myself with the story and know the music as well. It makes for a less frustrating situation if you have trouble deciphering the words, like I sometimes do.

  19. Heidi
    August 31, 2010 9:56 am

    I would like to let hearing impaired theater lovers know that the Benedum offers Sennheiser headphones for live performances. My husband says these unobtrusive devices make a world of difference for him. They are well worth checking into. Ask an attendant when you enter the lobby where to go to ask more about them. You may be very glad you gave them a try. It’s wonderful that it’s possible to alleviate at least some frustration over deciphering lines.

  20. empirechick
    August 31, 2010 11:51 am

    The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is linking to this article on its facebook page!!/CulturalTrust

  21. Lauren
    September 3, 2010 12:55 pm

    Thanks to your awesome pre-sale, I took my mom last night and ZOMG Raoul was HOT! I have been fortunate enough to see Phantom 4 or 5 times before this (Twice at the Pantages in Toronto…one of which included THE Michael Crawford and THE Sarah Brightman) and this is the first time I’ve ever found Raoul attractive. Maybe it’s the dark hair. Or those swoony eyes. And the grin. He has a nice grin.

    Glad you were able to enjoy the show – it is a truly fantastic one.

  22. Cat
    September 3, 2010 4:47 pm

    I saw phantom last night…and I am still in awe. I’m going to NYC this weekend and wanted to see it there, but there’s no shows on sunday and I’m already going to one saturday. Oh well. I might try to go again here in Pittsburgh.