Theater Phantom — the Arthur Kopit (writer of the book for musical Tony winner Nine) and Maury Yetson version — is a more fleshed-out retelling of the Phantom of the Opera tale, as opposed to the Andrew Lloyd Webber interpretation. More humor and background information humanize the story, and Footlite Musicals’ staging does it credit. The vocal performances from the leads are lovely, with Emily Rose as a perfectly sweet Christine Daee. Michael Myser does an excellent job as the Phantom — when we can hear him. His volume fluctuated enough that it was frustrating. Cathy Tolzmann as Carlotta is a wonderful white trash diva hoot, especially in her number “This Place Is Mine.” But many of the supporting cast fell short. Eric T. Meyer is Muppet-like in his roles of inspector and minister, Michael Jones as ex-opera manager Carriere is weak, and Phil Criswell as the Count de Chandon, while giving a good performance, seemed too light in the loafers to be infatuated with Christine. The Phantom’s black-cloaked minions are distracting, but kudos to them for finally getting the fire put out after the stage was inadvertently set alight by some errant pyrotechnics. Speaking of, the chandelier was rudimentary, but very effective in the explosion scene. But these issues were not enough to keep me from enjoying the show. Uneven though it may be, it is still satisfying. Phantom, directed by R. Brian Noffke, continues through March 21. Tickets are $14. Footlite is located at 1847 N. Alabama St.; box office 926-6630 or www.footlite.org.

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