So Tumblr has been crazy with this in the last few weeks since Sierra Boggess has left the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera on September 6th. A rather short run, so to say: she did start only on May 14th…
I wasn’t going to write anything about this at first. But now, rumor has it Sierra Boggess has stated that her 2014 run in Broadway was going to be the last time she would play Christine.
Bullshit. Bullshit bullshit bullshit bullshit bullshit. BULLSHIT.
Everyone knows Sierra is Cameron Mackintosh’s and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s darling.
Well, Andrew did state that if he was a few years younger, he would marry Sierra Boggess. (SIERRA, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE)
Now, please, don’t get me wrong. I love Sierra Boggess, she’s a great Christine, but guys, please, she seriously isn’t the best. I do think she deserves her place in what I call the “Phantom Royalty”, but to put her on a pedestal like pretty much everyone does… no.
So, before continuing, if you think Sierra Boggess is the best thing ever after sliced bread, and that you can’t stand that someone speaks of her in otherwise than superb compliments, this is not the article for you. And anyway, as I said above, I love Sierra Boggess. I’m not bashing her AT ALL here.
Without further ado, let’s talk about her evolution in the Phantom universe.
She started out as the first Christine in the Las Vegas production in 2006. Don’t underestimate that production. It’s actually excellent. Now, Sierra Boggess in Las Vegas presented to us a very emotional, not to say hyper Christine. Don’t compare her to the Christine we see in the 25th anniversary at Royal Albert Hall. They’re like night and day. I must say I prefer a quieter, demure, shy Christine, but that’s my head-canon, so don’t listen to me. To resume it all, I wasn’t that impressed by her while seeing the bit of footage of her.
She left in 2007 to star in The Little Mermaid as the title role, and, skipping a few years and shows, she was chosen to become the first Christine in Love Never Dies, in 2010. Why her? No idea.
Anyway, the show closed, and in 2011 came the planning for the 25th anniversary production, set at Royal Albert Hall. For the main roles of the Phantom, Christine and Raoul, they cast Ramin Karimloo, who had previously starred with Sierra in Love Never Dies and played the Phantom on West End, Sierra as Christine, and Hadley Fraser as Raoul.
Now, I don’t mind Ramin being cast as the Phantom. He has in my opinion the best voice for the role, though overall, he isn’t the best for what is of the acting. To stick to stage, John Owen-Jones was better. I do not, however, understand why they cast Hadley Fraser as Raoul, because despite all my love for Hadley, the guy never played Raoul before. In result, we got a Javert/LND kind of Raoul, but that’s a whole other story.
The thing is, they cast Sierra Boggess while the only time she had played Christine was in Las Vegas (no, Love Never Dies doesn’t count). And again, I can’t really say I was impressed by her when I saw her performance.
Just, seriously, why couldn’t they take a West End Christine performer? Well, you could also see it as a final attempt to promote LND, since it is after all Ramin Karimloo and she who got the main roles…
Now, her approach for Christine had a lot more nuance than in Las Vegas, and her performance of Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again was glorious, and the applause she received for it was well-deserved. But, however, her experience with LND really influenced her, to the point the Final Lair was totally f*cked up mainly because of her, that despite her having an excellent chemistry with Ramin’s Phantom, there was absolutely nothing between her and Hadley’s Raoul, the kiss on the rooftop put aside (probably the best rendition of it. Seriously.), and a good chemistry between Raoul and Christine is extremely important, perhaps even more important than the Erik/Christine chemistry for the reason that it’s HARD TO EXECUTE AND TO UNDERSTAND IT WELL. But overall, LND put aside, she was a good Christine.
But then, in 2013, they had her on the POTO 25th anniversary production on Broadway. And, just a few weeks before, they had her as Christine on Broadway, so they would have a good (but actually pretty bad) excuse for her playing Christine for the 25th anniversary. Before, she had no prior history with Broadway. So why? If you know a thing or two about Broadway, it’s hard to enter its world, a lot harder than in West End. And I mean it. There are many other long-runners who could have received the honor instead of Sierra and who were in the context more deserving. I mean, why can’t they just give someone else their chance? And it got even better. They made a new souvenir brochure for the 25th anniversary, then another one recently during her run in 2014. It is the second to feature her, and she was in a limited run (four months…). Mary Michael Patterson is now in the principal position and for a much longer time. Why didn’t they just put her in instead?
Does this mean she’ll come back again?
Of course she will.
Furthermore, no, SIERRA BOGGESS DID NOT DO THE 11 000th PERFORMANCE. IT WAS MARY MICHAEL PATTERSON. But again, they decided to celebrate the day after, the day where Sierra was on. Okay, they can say as much as they want that they didn’t want any understudies, but on the 11 000th performance, Greg Millis was Raoul, and not Jeremy Hays. (But hey, who cares about the fop? *sarcasm*)
Also, when it comes to social media, she’s ALWAYS in the promo videos. And on the Broadway Facebook page, when it came to POTO, it only talked about Sierra, Sierra and Sierra. You guys who take care of the Broadway Facebook page, if you see this, stop doing that. First of all, it’s like if you’re saying that without her, the show is worth nothing, WHICH ISN’T THE CASE. POTO WORKED VERY WELL BEFORE SIERRA BOGGESS CAME IN. (Sorry, I just had to put this in upper case letters) And second, it’s extremely disrespectful to the rest of the cast, who work really hard as well to make the musical an absolute juggernaut as it is since 26 years. (Though I must say as a side note that of the few videos I’ve seen of Norm Lewis in POTO, I didn’t really feel like I was seeing the Phantom. It was more “Norm-Lewis-playing-the-Phantom” more than anything else (a bit like Ramin’s performance at Royal Albert Hall at times…). Plus, he’s singing in the Broadway/West End style like crazy (the Phantom’s part should NEVER be sung like that), and he’s a bass-baritone. The Phantom IMO should be a baritone more than a tenor, but not a bass. It’s just… wrong.)
Overall, I feel sorry for Sierra.
I mean, a lot of people hate her now because she’s seemingly ALW’s and CamMac’s pet. She’s got to be at least really embarrassed of it, especially around the other members of the cast she’s working with and who fully deserve praise as well, and especially that she has absolutely no control whatsoever on it! And if what people say is true, that she did state this would be the last time she was going to be Christine, if it’s her will of getting out of POTO, I understand her!
To sum it all up, when it comes to Sierra Boggess, there are two teams: there are those who say: “OMG she’s the best Christine EVAR!” and those who say: “What the hell!? She sucks, and she’s there just because she’s CamMac and ALW’s darling!”
For me… I’m on neither team.
She’s a great Christine, but definitely not the best. Gina Beck, Katie Hall (who was by the way only 16-17 when she took the role and only took private singing lessons… Sorry Emmy Rossum, the excuse that you were only 16 when you played Christine just doesn’t work anymore), Tabitha Webb and Lisa Vroman are higher on my list, to be frank. Sierra’s voice, however, is in my top 5: it is glorious, truly operatic. I’m glad she’s singing in the bel canto style and not the Broadway/West End style… okay, most stage-Christines make a really good job of this, but Sierra in particular does it well. (And it’s the reason why I don’t like most stage-Phantoms… they’re all great tenors, but… singing in POTO in the West End/Broadway style is just criminal.)
Don’t start hating her and saying that she’s bad just because she gets a green card everywhere. That’s just rude and disrespectful.
Overall, I like Sierra. I’ve heard they’re going to adapt Ever After as a musical, and that she’s going to get the main role. And honestly, I think she’ll be fantastic and I can’t wait to see her go. But I had enough of her in the Phanverse. Give someone else their chance. That’s all I ask of you.
But mainly, the reason why so many people love her so much and so unconditionally is mainly because of the feedback. No, because it’s the popular opinion.
So, before saying Sierra is the best Christine ever, go and discover other Christines who deserve a good hand of applause as well. The ones I’ve named above are just a few of them. You can’t start comparing Christines if you’ve only been aware of Emmy Rossum and Sierra Boggess. Really, you can’t.
I’ve heard Andrew Lloyd Webber is trying once again to bring Love Never Dies on Broadway. I don’t know how his nut head works. Really, I don’t. They’re going to bring again a few changes, and someone else is going to die, apparently… I won’t start ranting on that. That will be for another time. All I know is that they’re talking of having Sierra Boggess as Christine and Hadley Fraser as Raoul.
But of course.
You think Sierra is done with everything Phantom?
You feel like dropping an angry comment? Feel free of doing so. I know I have an unpopular opinion and I honestly don’t care. You’re free of having your opinion and saying that Sierra Boggess is the best Christine ever and that she fully deserves all the praise she receives, and I’ll respect you. Just respect my opinion.