Four years ago, the women’s basketball team took a trip to New York City to see a broadway show called Hair. And little did we know, a tradition would be born. Over the past four years, the seniors have also seen Billy Elliot, Memphis, and then, most recently, The Phantom of the Opera.
The Phantom of the Opera is a classic love story and is the longest running show in the history of Broadway. Set in France, the play features a “ghost” who torments an opera house. This ghost is actually a man who wears a mask to cover his disfiguration, and who also happens to be a very talented singer. He secretly takes a young girl named Christine under his wing, teaching her how to sing beautiful opera music. The phantom demands that she be given the lead roles in the various operas that are performed, otherwise he will make terrible things happen to the cast members. Over time, the masked phantom ends up developing feelings for her. But Christine rekindles a relationship with a man she knew as a child named Raoul, and the two fall in love, leaving the phantom desperate and alone, as he has felt his entire life. He proceeds to kidnap Christine and try and convince her to be with him instead (not exactly the most romantic gesture). She is forced to choose between the two men, but ultimately the decision is not up to her.
The Phantom of the Opera is a story of love, loss, and twisted fate. The voices of the cast are very impressive, and the music is quite catchy. But despite those two positive features, I have to say, I think it’s pretty overrated. No offense to any of you Phantom lovers out there, but I just didn’t find the story to be convincing. The phantom and Christine never even share a nice conversation and the audience is supposed to believe that he truly loves her. I think I loved the cupcake I had before the show more than he loved Christine.
I asked my fellow classmates, Alita Zabrecky and Kate Clawson, what their favorite play we had seen over the past four years was. Alita and I both agreed that the best was Hair, a musical about the youth counterculture of the 1960s, which featured awesome music and long-haired hippies dancing around in the audience. At the end of the show, they invited anyone to come down and dance on the stage. So naturally, I ran down with a few of my teammates and we danced around with the cast members. It was amazing. Kate’s favorite was Memphis – the play we saw last year. That was about the first white DJ to play soul music by African American artists in the 1950s. I have to say, that one was pretty great too.
Despite the fact that Phantom of the Opera wasn’t the best play I’ve ever seen, we still had a great time in New York. We had dinner and a few of us walked around a bit before the show began, stopping at a little bakery called Baked By Melissa. It had bite-sized cupcakes in all different flavors – a perfect little treat. Going into the city to see a show is a great opportunity for all of us to do something fun together. And since we come back to school so much earlier than the rest of the students, it’s nice to have a little trip to look forward as a way of spicing up our sweatsuit-clad lives.
I think special events like this is a way of bringing our team even closer than we already are. We are so much more than a team, and it definitely translates on the basketball court. Communication is crucial for success in games, and we certainly get plenty of practice talking to each other on a day-to-day basis. I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to call my teammates. We all get along so well, and it’s really a testament to Coach Rohn. Our friendships and memories with eachother are more important than the game of basketball, but I do think that is why we have achieved so much success as a team over the past years. The yearly trip to see a Broadway show may be a new tradition, but the bond that exists between players on the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team is far more long-standing.
– Julie Kelly ’13