on January 12, 2001
Being a theater fan, I had been looking forward to seeing a couple of shows in the West End. Phantom has always been one of my favorite shows. After having seen it all over the world, I wanted to see it in London at the theater where it originally premiered but had never been able to squeeze it into any of my previous visits. We booked our tickets nearly 3 months in advance (which, as it turns out, was the smart thing to do as it was sold out for our performance almost 2 months in advance). We decided to get tickets for a 3 PM matinee on a Thursday afternoon because the seating options at that time were better. We arrived at the theater about 2 hours prior to the show and had a light lunch at a neighborhood restaurant and then went to the theater about 2 PM thinking that the doors would already be open. We discovered that London theater rules are slightly different than here in the US. Once our tickets were taken at the door, we were ushered down a series of stairs and into a lounge area, complete with bar where we were to wait until the theater itself opened which wasn't until about 30 minutes prior to the show time. The theater was smaller than I had anticipated and the seating was much more cramped than any other theater I have been in. The show, however, did not disappoint. I would say that the staging and acting abilities of the cast were equal to, if not better than, the Broadway cast and the intimacy of the theater really made us feel closer to the show than what we were. Overall a wonderful experience! I can't wait to get back to London and see it again!
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