Best Halloween Date: Phantom of the Opera at the Alabama Theatre

Maybe  Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical score has helped make Phantom of the Opera a long-running hit on Broadway, but I’ll tell you a performance that’s just as thrilling with no plane ticket required. Alabama Theatre’s showing of the classic silent film is a unique Halloween date or evening out that lets the restored  ”Showplace of the South” reveal its glory.

A major advantage we have living in a good-sized city with some history is having a beautiful old theater to enjoy. I would argue that the Alabama is a wonderful venue for any movie that doesn’t require surround-sound special effects for its plot line, especially vintage shows. For little more than a standard movie ticket, the Alabama Theatre offers gilded balconies, a real box office out front, and a three-story lobby. As much as we all appreciate a Rave, nothing compares to the atmosphere at the Alabama Theatre. (Vain side note: Everyone looks ravishing in the warm glow of the marquee bulbs here; not so beneath the street lamps of a mega-plex parking lot.)

Phantom of the Opera is a silent movie from 1925, which might sound decidedly low-tech and uninspiring. However,  consider that this, the original of horror flicks, has all the authentic elements that create pseudo-suspense. It’s shadowy black and white, features a frightening and misunderstood antagonist and a helpless damsel in distress.  Best of all, it takes place in an opera house that, come to think of it, is sort of like the Alabama Theatre. Even a confident attendee could start to get a little paranoid thinking about the old building, the many dark passages all around, and  how easily the Phantom himself could be lurking somewhere in the darkness…

And don’t be misled by the fact that Phantom of the Opera a silent movie. In actual experience, it is not.  Before Dolby Surround Sound and complex speaker systems brought every deafening crash and sickening thud to life, audiences felt the vibration from the pipes of the organ in music  that accompanied the show. This old fashioned thrill is practically forgotten, but you can experience it for yourself  as the Theatre’s signature piece of technology, the Mighty Wurlitzer, is brought  to life by a real, live organist. 

If you’re not in the Trick-or-Treating business this year or if your older kids are getting disapproving stares as they hustle for candy, Phantom is a perfect Halloween evening. You’ll see people in full costume regalia, and everything from casual night out or dressy date clothes.  It’s definitely not for young kids, as it really is creepy. You’ll be checking over your shoulder even with the robust crowds and downtown CAP (City Action Partnership) patrol all around.