The American Musical Sensation
Premiere Cast Recording

1993 ****

1. Overture
2. Melodie de Paris
3. Paris is a Tomb
4. Dressing for the Night
5. Where in the World
6. This Place is Mine
7. Home
8. The Music Lessons/Phantom Fugue
9. You Are Music
10. The Bistro: Sing/Paree is a Lark/Christine's Obligato/As YOu Would Love Paree/Finale
11. Who Could Ever Have Dreamed Up You
12. Entr'acte
13. Without Your Music
14. My True Love
15. My Mother Bore Me
16. You Are My Own
17. Finale: You Are Music (Reprise)

I stumbled across a cassette tape of this at Goodwill one day. I had no idea this existed. My wife didn't even know this existed, and she prides herself in being a Phantom aficionado. Apparently, Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit acquired the rights for The Phantom of the Opera before it fell into the public domain. They started working on this musical adaptation before Andrew Lloyd Webber. However, Webber picked it up after it fell into the public domain and with his big name, was able to get his version out there first. Thus, that's the version that's been crammed down our throats for three decades. I found this lesser-known version to be quite refreshing. It's much more subdued than the overblown Webber version, the music actually feeling more like it belongs in the time period in which the story takes place. The story has also been changed a bit, to remove the ridiculous love story and to provide a different backstory that actually works very well. Fans of the Andrew Lloyd Webber version may not like this one that much, but hardcore fans of Gaston Leroux's original novel should find plenty to fall in love with here.