In its 29th year, the mega theater classic, The Phantom of the Opera is the longest running Broadway musical. As of September 17, 2017, the musical has staged 12,350 performances and continues to draw in a huge crowd that can never get enough of the unforgettable score and timeless story. Brainchild of the legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber, musical theater’s brilliant impresario and composer, the musical Phantom reeks of sexuality, mystery, innocence and passion. It’s this winning formula that still sells Phantom of the Opera tickets and keeps the show as spectacular and fresh as ever.
Produced by Cameron Mackintosh and directed by the theater legend Harold Prince, The Phantom of the Opera won 7 Tony Awards in its first year. Lauded both aurally and visually, the beautifully crafted musical impeccably blends its mysterious theme with heartfelt music and lavish set design. A finely polished masterpiece, The Phantom of the Opera has extended its run at the Majestic Theatre in New York as well as at the Boston Opera House. The venerable blockbuster is long from pulling down its curtains, as it continues to reinvent itself every season.
The Phantom of the Opera Musical Information
- Director - Harold Prince
- Producer - Cameron Mackintosh
- Composer/Lyricist - Andrew Lloyd Webber
- Writer - Andrew Lloyd Webber & Richard Stilgoe
- Choreographer - Gillian Lynne
- Set Designer - Maria Björnson
The Phantom of the Opera is considered one of the greatest theater productions, not just on Broadway but also in London’s West End and numerous other countries. The longest running Broadway musical started its glorious journey from newspaper, was turned into a novel, later adapted for movie and eventually into various stage versions.
Long before Andrew Lloyd Webber gave the musical his magical touch, a French author and journalist Gaston Leroux sent out his story to a French newspaper called “Le Gaulois”. In September 1909, the newspaper published the first chapter of “Le Fantôme de l’Opéra” and over the next four months, the enthralling story of Phantom was shared with the readers.
In 1925, the Universal Studios turned the Phantom into a silent film that starred Lon Chaney. Its success inspired other mystery and horror movies like “Dracula”, “Frankenstein”, “The Mummy” and “The Wolf Man”. All of these went on to become horror classics. In 1962, a second Phantom film was released that included dialogues and even some music, but it was unable to stir the audience. Then entered Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Having given the theater industry big hits like “Evita” and “Cats”, Webber thought that The Phantom of the Opera would make a ravishing musical. And he was right. With the Phantom he fulfilled his career goal that was to make a romantic theatrical. The Phantom of the Opera premiered in 1986 in London’s West End. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Broadway’s Majestic Theater raised its curtains on the production on January 26, 1988. Following an incredible opening, Phantom of the Opera Broadway tickets enjoyed soaring sales and the trend continues even today.
The Phantom of the Opera – Original Cast
The Phantom of the Opera is a story of a man born with a deformed face who lurks in the bowels of the Paris Opera House. His presence is unknown to its occupants who are tormented by the ‘Phantom’. One night he hears the soulful voice of Christine Daaé and decides to nurture her talent. Knowing about persuasion only through tormenting and threatening, the Phantom takes it upon himself to guide Christine’s career. The fearful Christine does whatever the Phantom says and all seems to be going well, until she falls in love with Raoul, her childhood friend. They get engaged and the news doesn’t sit well with the Phantom who declares war on not just the couple but also the opera house. Eventually Raoul and Christine get their happy ending. As for the Phantom, who knows what happened to him.
The original West End and Broadway production featured Michael Crawford as the Phantom. After more than 1,300 performances in three and half years, Crawford bid farewell to the iconic role on April 29, 1991. His powerful stage presence and the ability to transition from a passionate lover to an anguished villain earned him a Tony Award for the “Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical”. When Crawford made his final appearance, and said, “It’s over now, the music of the night”, the jam-packed crowd erupted into deafening applause. In New York, his role is currently being played by James Barbour.
Sarah Brightman as Christine Daaé was delightful. Her refined soprano voice soars on the numbers like “Angel of Music”, “I Remember/Stranger Than You Dreamt It” and “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”. Married to Andrew Lloyd Webber at that time, her husband wrote the songs that matched her vocal range.
The original productions featured Steve Barton as Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny. He nails the character with his robust performance and manages to hold his own quite effectively against Crawford.
Judy Kaye played Carlotta Giudicelli in the original Broadway production. As Christine Daaé’s rival singer and also standing beside Sarah Brightman, she showcased incredible range. She was funny, strong and vocally impressive. Kaye won the Tony Award for the “Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical”.
The Phantom of the Opera – Original Score
With Andrew Lloyd Webber holding the reins in his hand, the music was bound to be breathtaking. Sophisticated orchestration, impressive choral numbers and beautiful duets, all earned the composer multiple Drama Desk Awards. He took home the “Outstanding Music” and “Outstanding Orchestrations” at the 1988 award function. Soaring synthesizers, sweeping majestic romance and the grandiose scope of melodies leave an everlasting impact on the audience. The music of Phantom of the Opera remains with the fans long after they have left the theaters. Big melody tunes like “All I Ask Of You” and “Think of Me” are irresistible, touching the heart. Brilliant arrangement and wonderful performances by the actors make its album one of the best in Broadway.
The Phantom of the Opera – Critics Report Card
New York Daily said it plain and simple, “It is a spectacular entertainment”. Driven by a passionate love story, the fierce romance in The Phantom of the Opera is what draws in a sold-out crowd every night. The scenery and costumes by Maria Björnson earned her multiple Tony Awards. The famous chandelier scene, where it drops from the ceiling, nearly onto the audience brings out loud screams from everyone. Much credit goes to Björnson and light designer Andrew Bridge for the affects they have created.
New York Times reviewed the musical as “a characteristic Lloyd Webber project - long on pop professionalism and melody, impoverished of artistic personality and passion”.
Phantom of the Opera Broadway Tickets
Having entered a record-breaking 29th year, The Phantom of the Opera is not even close to taking its final bow. More performances have been added to the Majestic Theatre schedule and an extended run has been announced at the Boston Opera House. The production team has often treated the audience to surprise elements in the musical and this has kept the sales of Phantom of the Opera Broadway tickets alive in all these years.
The Phantom of the Opera is not showing its age at all. The famous chandelier still drops on cue, every time bringing loud gasps and screams from the audience. Critic Roma Torre reviewed it in words, “Beautiful and romantic, I have to tip my hat: The Phantom of the Opera has aged divinely”.