The first auction: I got one of those HUGE posters they have on the side of the theatre. It's Hannibal with Lyse guerin and John MacMaster and right now it takes up 1/4 of the wall space in my room (it's matted on a thick and heavy sort of cardboard).
The show: It was wonderful. Kim changed the line to what is in the topic and got applause for it. It didn't hit me till the second act that this was the last time for the show at the Pantages.
For the second act, I sat next to Hepzebah/Catherine and Stacey in the third row. Masquerade was *wonderful*, I almost cried during it because it's such a happy song and you could tell the cast was having a hard time keeping a cheerful face. At one point in the middle of the song, Kim looked out into space/the audience and she looked like she was going to burst into tears. During the second managers scene, I kept thinking with every note the violins played "This is the last time that note is going to be played.. and THAT note.." The only problem I had with the show was right after the Phantom brings Christine into the lair for the final time, Paul had on a huge happy face and jerked his body up and down at the waist for what seemed an eternity. I thought he was having a seizure!
The curtain call was amazing. Everyone got a standing ovation. Stacey started to cry and then Catherine said "Look! Kim looks like she's about to bawl." So, of course, that started ME crying. And crying. And crying. They invited everyone who had been part of the show to come up on stage so they all came up (including Laird Mackintosh and Lyse Guerin). One of the crew even brought out the bride doll dummy, hoisting it high! If you recall, for the 9th anniversary they sang a version of "MOTN," this is what they did for the finale again. And the three of us cried through the whole thing (me more than them). Then came the streamers, fireworks and everything.
We went to the party, which was good but not really worth the $100/$150 we paid for it! We did get three free drinks and everything, but still. By the time we got there, the silent auction had ended and they brought up the principles onto the stage and introduced them. Then a large cake was wheeled over (I heard Kim Stengel saying "I hope this one isn't the same cardboard cake we keep getting for the anniversaries!"). The cake was delicious, I don't know what kind it was though! Then the live auctions started. Some highlights: Paul Stanley's autographed guitar went for $14,000 and the monkey went for $28,000. (And no, Paul did NOT win the monkey.) Paul's son (Evan, 5) came onstage to try and get bidders to bid by singing some quick things from the show. What a powerful voice he has!! He was quite good except for the fact that the poor kid kept changing keys of the song. But it's hard to not do that while singing acapella!
When I think about what Phantom in Toronto means to me, it *IS* Phantom. That's where I saw my first show. In fact, every Phantom show I've seen except for three has been in that theatre. I spent some of the best days in my life there. I count myself blessed to have been able to meet the wonderful actors from that show, and to be counted as a friend by one of them! I think I was crying as much as the actors were that night, mainly because I feel such a deep sense of loss. The loss that I won't be able to stop by the stage door and see how people are, that I won't be able to follow most of these people from year to year (not literally follow, but follow their careers). Also, there's the loss of all the people I COULD HAVE met had the show continued on. I have met and made so many friends, young and old, because of that show. The lunches/dinners with phans, the stage door camaraderie, the chit-chat before the show.. I count myself as a lucky person because I have made so many friends because of this show. People I wouldn't have met otherwise.
I just want to thank the cast/crew/all those other people from Phantom in Toronto who gave their talents to this wonderful production. I don't know if they will ever know how much they have touched us, the fans, and me personally. Phantom in Toronto was a wonderful experience, everyone from the production made a genuine effort to include the fans as part of the production's extended family. From the great anniversary shows year after year, to the actors who would come out of the stage door for every show (examples: Peter Karrie, Kim Stengel) and took time with each and every person, to the ushers who would tell us all of the gossip and make sure we noticed a certain beanie baby (thank you Roger!), and to the nicest security people I have met, these people made an effort to make sure we had the best times we could.
And we did.