- Why collaborative partnerships are the way to grow your agency
- Didn’t get that promotion? Good
- Why WordPress coding standards are everything
- Our first e-book is here, here is how you can get it
- Weekly round-up of WordPress news – Vol 21
- Weekly round-up of WordPress news – Vol 20
- Weekly round-up of WordPress news – Vol 19
- Weekly round-up of WordPress news – Vol 18
- Weekly round-up of WordPress news – Vol 17
- How to find the best WordPress developers for you: Part 10 – Security
- Licensing Phantom
Through the Years
- Original Cast
- Facts & Figures
CAMERON MACKINTOSH AND THE REALLY USEFUL GROUP PRESENT
MAJESTIC THEATRE, NEW YORK
January 26, 1988 – april 16, 2023.
The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway | Celebrating 34 Years on Broadway
The longest-running show in Broadway history, Andrew Lloyd Webber ’s The Phantom of the Opera debuted in 1988, winning seven Tony Awards® including Best Musical.
Based on Gaston Leroux’s horror novel, it tells the enticing story of The Phantom, who haunts the stage of the Paris Opera and subsequently falls in love with a beautiful young soprano. Audiences are in for a thrilling night of spectacle and romance, accompanied by an unforgettable musical score.
The Phantom of the Opera Tickets
This lush romantic smash is Broadway’s longest-running show.
This show is closed.
Performances ended on Apr. 16, 2023.
News & Features
About the phantom of the opera on broadway, video & photos.
The longest-running show in Broadway history, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera debuted in 1988, winning seven Tony Awards® including Best Musical. Based on Gaston Leroux’s horror novel, it tells the enticing story of the Phantom, who haunts the stage of the Paris Opera and subsequently falls in love with a beautiful young soprano. Audiences are in for a thrilling night of spectacle and romance, accompanied by Broadway’s most unforgettable score.
Know Before You Go
Both romantic and scary, The Phantom of the Opera is a thrilling night of theater with grand emotions. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score, with its beloved signature song “Music of the Night,” sets the mood, but you may also find yourself humming the gorgeous period costumes and simple yet grand sets (even the famous chandelier, which probably falls slower than you’d expect, is a thrill).
"Phantom rules! It remains as fresh and spectacular as ever. Andrew Lloyd Webber's score has a visceral tug more than almost any score written in the past 20 years. Beautiful and romantic, I have to tip my hat: The Phantom of the Opera has aged divinely." NY1 Roma Torre
"Phantom still delivers the goods! Judging by sheer invention, emotional punch and onstage talent, the venerable blockbuster still beats out almost all of the shippersnappers currently on Broadway. Maria Bjornson's flamboyant gothic design and Harold Prince's fantastical staging still have the gleam of finely polished professionalism." The New York Times Jason Zinoman
Frequently Asked Questions
Grand opera and lush romance might not be their cup of tea. And the Phantom is a frightening guy. There are old-fashioned scare moments throughout—a dead corpse plunging from a noose, shrieking-for-their-lives ballerinas, that disfigured face... Such sights will either send your kid burying their face in your arm or thinking it’s the coolest show in town.
Cast & Creative
Ben Crawford was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and received a BFA in Music Theatre from The University of Arizona. His Broadway credits include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Mr. Salt), the titular character in Shrek The Musical , Big Fish (Edward Bloom u/s, Don Price), Les Misérables (Javert/Valjean u/s) and On the Twentieth Century (Bruce Granit u/s). Phantom marks Ben’s sixth Broadway show and he is beyond grateful to be able to jump into this iconic role. Ben has also starred in over twenty regional theatre productions ranging from Che in Evita (Studio Tenn), Starbuck in 110 in the Shade (Ford’s Theatre), Luther Billis in South Pacific (Ogunquit Playhouse), Frederick Barrett in Titanic (MUNY) and Jud Fry in Oklahoma! (Fox Theatre).
Emilie is making her Broadway debut in Phantom . Recent credits include Unknown Soldier (Playwrights Horizons); Oklahoma! (Broadway at Music Circus, Sacramento, CA); Merrily We Roll Along , Passing Strange , Me and My Girl , Violet , A Man of No Importance (University of Michigan); Sweeney Todd (Connecticut Repertory Theater). Graduate, University of Michigan’s Musical Theatre program. She is extremely grateful for the love and support from her family, friends, team at CGF Talent and everyone who has supported her throughout the years.
John Riddle has been seen on Broadway in Frozen (Hans), The Visit (Young Anton) and on the national tour of Evita . Other favorites credits include Tony in West Side Story (Casa Mañana), Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees (PCLO), Eric in The Little Mermaid (Muny), Little Dancer (Kennedy Center) and My Paris (Long Wharf). He has appeared in the concert performances of The Secret Garden (Lincoln Center) and with the Cincinnati Pops, as well as performed his solo show Keep It Simple at Feinstein’s/54 Below.
Paul A. Schafer is SO grateful to be a member of this cast for over a decade. He has also played The Phantom more times than he can count. Other Stage work: …Millie national tour and PCLO, Company at Barrington, High Society at Walnut Street, My Life with Albertine at Playwrights, Giant at Signature. TV: FBI, Uncoupled with NPH, Blacklist, Baker and the Beauty, Law & Order, Guiding Light . He is a proud graduate of the MT program at University of Michigan. Many thanks to CPM, Clear, my loving parents and my regular and quite attractive scene partner, Elena.
Sara is honored to be joining the Phantom legacy! Former soloist with Miami City Ballet, Princess Grace Fellowship Award recipient for dance. Broadway/First National: An American in Paris (Lise Dassin). Other: Brigadoon (Jean, NYCC Encores!), A Chorus Line (Maggie, Encores!; Cassie, Cape Playhouse), Marie Dancing Still (5th Avenue, Seattle), Alien/Nation (Williamstown Theater Festival, Forest of Arden Co. Member). Film/TV: West Side Story (dir. Steven Spielberg), Fosse/Verdon, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel . Love to BRS/Gage and my family! F+A,NMW. For Nana.
Raquel Suarez Groen is thrilled to be making her Broadway debut with Phantom ! Off-Broadway: Roxanne Conti, iFigaro (90210)! (Duke Theater); Grand Dame in Vox Lumiere’s Phantom of the Opera . Opera: Marzelline, Fidelio (Opera Carolina); Frasquita, Carmen (Opera San Antonio, Venture Opera); Susanna, Le nozze di Figaro (Opera on the James); Lauretta, Gianni Schicchi (Opera on the James, DiCapo Opera); Opera Lyra Ottawa; Syracuse Opera. Awards: Giulio Gari International Vocal Competition, Prize Winner; Florida Grand Opera YPO Competition, Prize Winner. Special thanks to my loving mom and dad, Tara Rubin Casting, Renée Fleming, Joan Lader, Diana and Bernard Uzan and my team at UIA!
Maree Johnson is thrilled to be returning to The Phantom of the Opera and making her Broadway debut! Born in Sydney and now living in Manhattan, Maree played Christine Daaé in Cameron Mackintosh’s Australian production. Other Australian credits include Cats (Grizabella), Les Misérables , West Side Story (Maria), My Fair Lady (Eliza), Scrooge (Isabel/Helen), two concert productions of Follies (Young Heidi, Young Sally) and the lead in Sondheim’s You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow at Sydney Opera House. Maree’s U.S. credits include Z orba (The Widow), Passion (Fosca, Barrymore Award nomination) and Myths & Hymns (Emily). As always, love and thanks to Jason, Audra and Helena.
Craig Bennett's Broadway credits include The Last Ship (Billy Thompson), A Tale of Two Cities (Jerry Cruncher), South Pacific (Thomas Hassinger) and Miss Saigon (Sgt. Schultz). Off-Broadway: Music in the Air (City Center Encores!), Citizen Ruth (NY Fringe Festival). National tour: The Phantom of the Opera (Monsieur Firmin), The Light in the Piazza (Signor Naccarelli), Billy Elliot (Big Davey), Mamma Mia! (Bill Austin), Ragtime (Willie Conklin), Les Misérables (Combeferre). Regional: A Little Night Music (Fredrik), Randy Newman’s Faust (Michael), House of Martin Guerre (Jehannot), all at The Goodman Theater, Chicago. Thanks to Steve and Dale. Love to Sala and Mako.
Broadway: All My Sons , Phantom of the Opera (closing cast), Flying Over Sunset , School of Rock , Gettin ’ The Band Back Together , Les Miserables (Original Revival Cast), Threepenny Opera . Off-Broadway includes: Cyrano , Working (2008 revision), Grand Hotel (Encores!), Three Sisters . Regional credits includes Arena Stage, Dallas Theatre Center, Goodman Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center. Video Game: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Film/TV: Law & Order SVU (NBC), The Wire (HBO), Search Party (HBO), Blackout .
Heralded by The New York Times as an “ardent tenor,” Carlton Moe debuted at Carnegie Hall with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2013. A native of Portland, Oregon, he has performed with such organizations as the Oregon Symphony, Walla Walla Symphony, Aspen Music Festival, Napa Music Festival, Savannah Voice Festival, Opera in Williamsburg, Charlottesville Symphony Society, and the Martina Arroyo Foundation. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Portland State University and a Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music, where he attended on a full scholarship.
- Broadway Shows
- The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway
The Phantom of the Opera Tickets
The phantom of the opera information.
Hear the music of the night at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sensational, spellbinding musical. The Phantom of the Opera tickets are available on London Theatre now.
The Phantom of the Opera began previews at the then-named Her Majesty's Theatre in London on 27 Sept. 1986, with an original opening night on 9 Oct. 1986. Even though a reworked version opened in 2021, the show boasts memorable music alongside stunning set design, costumes, and special effects.
A truly romantic tragedy, this beautiful story is set against one of the West End's most memorable scores that includes hit songs such as “The Music of the Night”, “All I Ask of You”, “Think of Me”, and of course, “The Phantom of the Opera”. Find out more about The Phantom of the Opera in London. The Phantom of the Opera musical is one of the most successful pieces of entertainment in history — global audience numbers tally over 130 million people in 145 cities across 27 countries.
Having spawned a sequel musical Love Never Dies and a successful film adaptation starring Gerard Butler, the glorious production in London's West End continues to draw audiences from all over the world.
What is The Phantom of the Opera about?
The haunting The Phantom of the Opera musical story is adapted from Gaston Leroux's novel of the same name and is set in the heart of the Paris Opera House. As young ballet dancer Christine Daae becomes the object of The Phantom's secret affection, he manipulates her career at the expense and horror of the Opera House staff and stars.
Where is The Phantom of the Opera playing in the UK?
The Phantom of the Opera is currently playing at His Majesty's Theatre (previously Her Majesty's Theatre) in London. The production began performances on 27 September 1986 and is the second longest-running musical in the West End.
Tickets to The Phantom of the Opera are available now. Book your The Phantom of the Opera tickets on London Theatre today.
Book tickets to The Phantom of the Opera, or sign up to receive the latest news and show alerts.
Please Note: the sides of the Grand Circle are side view restricted. The rear of the Stalls and Royal Circle are restricted by the overhang. Seats in the Balcony have restricted legroom.
Access Performance Audio Described Performance - Saturday 20th May 2023 2.30pm Audio Described Performance - Wednesday 13th September 2023 7.30pm
September 27th, 1986
Musicals , Weekday Matinees
July 27th, 2021
December 31st, 2023
His Majesty’s Theatre
Suitable for 8+. Anyone under the age of 16 has to be accompanied by an adult aged 18+. Under 4s will not be admitted
Cast and creative
By : Richard Stilgoe, Charles Hart and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Based on Gaston Leroux's gothic novel Songs by : Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by Charles Hart Director : Harold Prince Producer : Cameron Mackintosh / Really Useful Company Cast list : Jon Robyns, Holly-Anne Hull, Matt Blaker, Kelly Glyptis, Matt Harrop, Adam Linstead, Greg Castiglioni, Francesca Ellis, Ellie Young, Paige Blankson, Hollie Aires, Connor Carson, Corina Clark, Edward Court, Michelle Cornelius, Lily De-La-Haye, Hywel Dowsell, Serina Faul, James Gant, Eilish Harmon-Beglan, Emma Harris, Yukina Hasebe, Thomas Holdsworth, Olivia Holland-Rose, Jacob Hughes, Grace Hume, James Hume, Tim Morgan, Michael Robert-Lowe, Eve Shanu-Wilson, Tim Southgate, Anouk Van Laake, Jasmine Wallis, Rafe Watts, Skye Weiss, Simon Whitaker, Lizzie Wofford, Andrew York Design : Maria Björnson Lighting : Andrew Bridge Costume : Maria Björnson Choreography : Gillian Lynne Sound : Mick Potter
Review - The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre
Stop a person on the street and ask them to name a West End musical, they'll probably say one of two things: Les Mis, or The Phantom of the Opera. The latter has been impressively running non-stop at Her Majesty's Theatre for over 3 decades now, but does Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical still have the same sense of wonder as it did all that time ago. There's no question that it's a complete classic: the story tells of the titular phantom who haunts an opera house, the tales of his presence in the...
Latest The Phantom of the Opera News & Features
'The Phantom of the Opera' announces new West End cast members
On 31 July, four new cast members will join the West End company of The Phantom of the Opera.
Her Majesty’s Theatre to be renamed His Majesty’s Theatre on King Charles III’s coronation day
The renaming of the West End theatre follows tradition that the playhouse honours the reigning British monarch. King Charles III's coronation takes place on 6 May.
‘The Phantom of the Opera’ tickets available through March 2024
The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical continues at His Majesty’s Theatre for another year. Earl Carpenter and Holly-Anne Hull currently play the Phantom and Christine.
A complete guide to all the songs in 'The Phantom of the Opera'
Learn more about the songs in The Phantom of the Opera, including "Masquerade," "All I Ask of You," "The Music of the Night", and "Think of Me."
Jon Robyns to join ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ West End cast
Holly-Anne Hull, Earl Carpenter, and Paige Blankson will also star.
Her Majesty’s Theatre to be renamed to ‘His Majesty’s Theatre’ following Queen Elizabeth II's passing
The theatre name change will take place after the coronation.
Everything you need to know about Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 'The Phantom of the Opera' in London
From The Phantom of the Opera tickets to all the Andrew Lloyd Webber songs in the musical, find out more about The Phantom of the Opera in the West End.
Who has played The Phantom in 'The Phantom of the Opera' in London?
Discover some of the best actors to have previously played the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s The Phantom of the Opera.
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
- Gold Experiences
- LW Theatres & War Child
The Phantom of the Opera
Now playing at His Majesty’s Theatre
Far beneath the majesty and splendour of the Paris Opera House, hides the Phantom in a shadowy existence. Shamed by his physical appearance and feared by all, the love he holds for his beautiful protégée Christine Daaé is so strong that even her heart cannot resist.
Andrew Lloyd Webber ’s mesmerising score along with jaw-dropping scenery and breathtaking special effects, magically combine to bring this tragic love story to life.
The musical first opened at His Majesty’s Theatre on Thursday 9 October 1986 with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman in the leading roles. Since then Phantom of the Opera has gone on to become one of the highest-grossing musicals of all time, winning 70 major theatre awards and been seen by over 140 million people worldwide.
VENUE His Majesty’s Theatre , Haymarket, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4QL
TICKETS From £22.50 – No fees All ticket prices include a £1.70 restoration levy
BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE For maximised flexibility, customers can exchange their tickets up to 48 hours prior to the event. A £3 per ticket exchange fee will apply.
RUNNING TIME 2 hours & 30 minutes (including 20 min interval)
At certain moments during this production, from a small number of seats your view may be briefly interrupted. This production contains scenes that some people may find distressing and includes the use of: gunshots, flashing lighting effects, theatrical smoke effects, and pyrotechnics.
GIFT VOUCHERS Now Available
ACCESS Click here to find out about access tickets for The Phantom of the Opera
GROUPS Click here to find great groups rates for groups of 10+
AGE RECOMMENDATION 8+ We aren’t able to admit any children under the age of 4 and every customer must have their own ticket. To help us make sure everyone enjoys the show, your little ones need to be able to sit in their own seat without any assistance. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
CONTENT WARNINGS This show contains loud sounds, gun shots, flashing lights, haze, fire, pyrotechnics and depictions of violence and death at certain points during the performance. If you would like more detailed information of when these will occur, please click here . Please be aware this page contains spoilers.
Please note the producers cannot guarantee the appearance of any particular artist. The schedule is subject to change and may be affected by contracts, holidays, illness or events beyond the producers’ control.
We are working hard to ensure the safety of all patrons and performers. Due to Covid-19 safety measures, we are unable to accept gifts or items for signing and there will be no public access to Stage Door. The cast won’t be able to sign items or take photos when entering or leaving the building.
For any other questions, please visit our FAQs page and take a look at our visitor guide before you come. Enjoy your visit to our theatre.
Treat yourself to a Gold Experience – perfect for a special occasion or to simply add even more sparkle and style to your night. Our renowned Red Coats will host you with exceptional service, ensuring you have a truly unforgettable experience and feel like a star.
Choose from our specially crafted packages – OPERA BOX, LUXURY or CHANDELIER – and we’ll take care of the rest.
Accessibility Information: Step-free access is available. Please contact the Hospitality team for further details and to book.
The price for OPERA BOX Experience is included when you purchase box tickets. The prices for LUXURY and CHANDELIER Experiences do not include the price of the seat ticket.
OPERA BOX Experience
Only available when booking a box
- Greeted and hosted by a Theatre Host
- Access to OPERA BOX 1 hour before show time
- Champagne and savoury snack plus interval ice-cream
- Show programme to share
If any member of your group has a food allergy please email the Hospitality team after you have booked your experience. Drinks include up to half a bottle of champagne per person or alternatives up to the same value. Alcohol can only be served to and consumed by persons aged 18 years and over. Please drink responsibly.
£65 per person
*Available in the Stalls and Royal Circle Includes:
- Greeted and hosted by a Red Coat Butler
- Reserved table in the bar available 1 hour before show time and during interval
- Pre-show champagne and savoury snack
- Interval champagne and ice-cream or confectionary
- Show programme
If you require more than 6 Luxury Experiences, please contact our Hospitality team to book.
If any member of your group has a food allergy please email the Hospitality team after you have booked your experience. Pre-show and interval drinks include up to half a bottle of champagne per person or alternatives up to the same value. Alcohol can only be served to and consumed by persons aged 18 years and over. Please drink responsibly.
£135 per person
• Greeted and hosted by a Red Coat Butler • Access to VIP SUITE – available 1 hour before show time and during interval • Pre-show champagne and savoury snack • Interval champagne, dessert platter and ice-cream • Show programme
If any member of your group has a food allergy please email the Hospitality team after you have booked your experience. Pre-show and interval drinks include up to a bottle of champagne per person or alternatives up to the same value. Alcohol can only be served to and consumed by persons aged 18 years and over. Please drink responsibly.
If you are looking for a bespoke experience please email our team.
If you already have tickets you can add a GOLD experience via your booking confirmation or email our team – please have your booking reference handy.
EMAIL THE HOSPITALITY TEAM
Whether you want to experience the West End’s most haunting love-story with friends or family book direct with us for groups of 10+ and save!
Phantom Gift Vouchers
Think of me, think of me fondly…
With a mesmerising score along with jaw-dropping scenery and breath-taking special effects a Gift Voucher for The Phantom of the Opera makes a perfect present!
£30 Day Seats
A limited number of great £30 day seats are released each morning at 10am for performances that same day.
Tantalise your taste buds by sampling the themed cocktails. Whether you savour a Masquerade Mojito , indulge in a Kir Raoul or relish the Espresso Mask-tini , enhance your visit with a sippable delight.
Exclusively available at His Majesty’s Theatre.
“this west end spectacular more than deserves its classic status ”.
“Spectacle abounds. The show has only grown in its artistic power. ”
The Sunday Times
“Worthy of its place in theatre history. ”
★★★★ “Lloyd Webber’s epic tearjerker is back in all its gothic glory. Killian Donnelly is a marvellous new Phantom. ”
★★★★ “The music of the night is back. ”
★★★★ “Welcome back Phantom, we’ve missed you. ”
★★★★ “the staging has never looked more spectacular. ”.
Meet the West End Cast
The Phantom of the Opera currently stars Jon Robyns as The Phantom alongside Holly-Anne Hull as Christine Daaé, Matt Blaker as Raoul, Kelly Glyptis as Carlotta, Matt Harrop as Monsieur Firmin, Adam Linstead as Monsieur André, Greg Castiglioni as Ubaldo Piangi, Francesca Ellis as Madame Giry and Ellie Young as Meg Giry. At certain performances the role of Christine Daaé is played by Paige Blankson.
The cast is completed by Hollie Aires, Connor Carson, Corina Clark, Michelle Cornelius, Edward Court, Lily De-La-Haye, Hywel Dowsell, Serina Faull, James Gant, Eilish Harmon-Beglan, Emma Harris, Yukina Hasebe, Thomas Holdsworth, Olivia Holland-Rose, Jacob Hughes, Grace Hume, James Hume, Tim Morgan, Michael Robert-Lowe, Eve Shanu-Wilson, Tim Southgate, Anouk Van Laake, Jasmine Wallis, Ralph Watts, Skye Weiss, Simon Whitaker , Lizzie Wofford and Andrew York.
Phantom Photos & Videos
PLAN YOUR VISIT
Why not start planning your day to make sure your time with us at His Majesty’s Theatre is as smooth as possible?
More information for your visit
Tell your friends about this show
Send someone a hint .
Have you been very good this year? Then help your Santa out and drop them a hint for your perfect gift.
- Friends first name
- Friends last name
- Friends email address
- I'd love to see... 42nd Street Matilda School of Rock
Search LW Theatres
Hit enter to search or ESC to close
- Skip to main content
- Keyboard shortcuts for audio player
'Phantom of the Opera' takes a final Broadway bow after 13,981 performances
John Riddle as Raoul, Laird Mackintosh as the Phantom and Emilie Kouatchou as Christine, take a bow at the end of the final performance of the Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theater in New York City on April 16, 2023. Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images hide caption
John Riddle as Raoul, Laird Mackintosh as the Phantom and Emilie Kouatchou as Christine, take a bow at the end of the final performance of the Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theater in New York City on April 16, 2023.
On Sunday night, April 16, the curtain will fall on the longest-running show in Broadway history. The Phantom of the Opera , Andrew Lloyd Webber's mega hit musical, is closing after more than 35 years.
The stats are absolutely staggering – since it opened on Broadway in January of 1988, Phantom has played almost 14,000 performances to audiences of over 20 million, grossing over $1.3 billion. An estimated 6,500 people have been employed by the production – including over 400 actors – and it takes a cast, orchestra and crew of 125 to put on the show. On Monday, it will all be over.
"I got the gig of a lifetime. There's no other way to describe it," says Richard Poole, who's been a member of the ensemble, playing small roles, for almost 25 years. "It's given me the ability to have security, to plan ahead," says Poole. "It gives me discipline and structure in my life, and it gives me a constant way to maintain my craft."
Steve Barton (from left), Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman during the curtain call at the end of the premiere performance of The Phantom of the Opera on Jan. 26, 1988 at New York's Majestic Theatre. Ed Bailey/AP hide caption
Musician Joyce Hammann has been at the show even longer than Poole: "I'm concertmaster at Phantom of the Opera , which is first violin. And holy moly, I've been there 33 and a half years." Hammann is one of several members of the orchestra to have a "Phantom baby" – her son, Jackson just turned 18. "This has been his home away from home," she says. "People [here] have watched him grow up. He had the pleasure of sitting backstage during Saturday matinees sometimes when I wasn't able to get a babysitter."
The Phantom of the Opera , for those who've never seen it, is the story of a disfigured genius who haunts the Paris Opera House, pining away for a young soprano, Christine, who's in love with a dashing count. People die, a chandelier crashes to the stage, but love kinda triumphs ... all set to a sweeping romantic score.
25 Years Strong, 'Phantom Of The Opera' Kills And Kills Again
"I was very keen to write something which was a high romance at the time, having done Evita and having done Cats and various things, which ... didn't let me ... go in that direction at all," Lloyd Webber recalled in 2013, for the show's 25 th anniversary on Broadway. When he read Gaston Leroux's novel, he found the vehicle and collaborated with Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart on the adaptation, directed by Hal Prince.
"I think the enduring appeal is because it's so romantic and because audiences escape into it," the late director said for the 25 th anniversary. "It has a world of its own. And whatever problems they have out on the street and in their daily lives, they come in here and it's like a little kid tripping on a fairy tale or something. Only this is a slightly dangerous one. But the point is, I think that they escape from reality for a couple of hours and in a romantic world."
'phantom of the opera': 20 years in the pit.
"The Phantom being misunderstood, I think is a big symbol for a lot of people," says Ben Crawford, who now has the distinction of being the last Phantom to haunt the Majestic Theatre on Broadway. [Ed. Note: Laird Mackintosh played the Phantom at the final performance on Sunday, April 16, filling in for Crawford who was ill.] Like other Phantoms before him, he has a special relationship with the Phans who've visited the show over and over. Some even send him their own artwork. "They saw that I had dinosaurs in my room," he says, "because when I play with my kids on FaceTime, my son loves dinosaurs, so they 3D printed this velociraptor that's, like, in a tuxedo with a phantom mask. And it came to my dressing room in a box with, like, holes in it so it could breathe."
But even the longest running show in Broadway history has to close at some point. Producer Cameron Mackintosh says Phantom was losing money, even before the pandemic. So, last September, he and Andrew Lloyd Webber announced a final date. "The following week, we were profitable for the first time," Mackintosh said in a phone interview from London. "So, you know, it was the right decision to take at the right time. And, you know, I think people's memory now is back with people saying Phantom of the Opera is one of the great successes of all time, which is what one always prays when a great show finishes."
Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
Not my job: we quiz t-pain on 'the phantom of the opera'.
So, Phantom is going out with a bang – it's been selling out again. Music supervisor and conductor David Caddick has been around since the very beginning – he was music director for a staged reading on Andrew Lloyd Webber's estate back in 1984. He's conducting the final performances on Broadway. "I simply don't know how I'll feel on the morning of the 17th of April," Caddick says. "At the moment, it's about maintaining what we have: keeping the show vibrant. I still give notes to the actors, to the orchestra. We will look to maintain every element of the production through to the very last note."
There are plans for some surprises at the final curtain call. Actor Richard Poole says the closing is bittersweet. " I was retiring anyway," he says. "So, I have a very enviable spot in my life in the fact that I had something to go to, which was nothing!" For the other 124 people employed by The Phantom of the Opera , it's time to find a new gig.
The Phantom of the Opera marquee is shown above on April 13, 2023, at the Majestic Theater in New York City. The final performance will be on Sunday, April 16. Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images hide caption
‘Phantom of the Opera,’ Broadway’s Longest-Running Show, to Close
The theatergoing audience has been slow to return after the pandemic lockdown, and the show hasn’t been selling well enough to defray its running costs.
- Share full article
By Michael Paulson
“The Phantom of the Opera,” the longest-running show in Broadway history and, for many, a symbol of musical theater, will drop its famous chandelier for the last time in February, becoming the latest show to fall victim to the drop-off in audiences since the pandemic hit.
The closing is at once long-expected — no show runs forever, and this one’s grosses have been softening — but also startling, because “Phantom” had come to seem like a permanent part of the Broadway landscape, a period piece and a tourist magnet that stood apart from the vicissitudes of the commercial theater marketplace.
But in the year since Broadway returned from its damaging pandemic lockdown, the theatergoing audience has not fully rebounded, and “Phantom,” which came back strong last fall , has not been selling well enough to defray its high weekly running costs.
The show will commemorate its 35th anniversary in January, and then will play its final performance on Broadway on Feb. 18, according to a spokesman. The cast, crew and orchestra were informed of the decision on Friday.
The show will continue to run elsewhere: The London production, which is even older than the one in New York, closed in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, but then returned, with a smaller orchestra and other cost-lowering reconfigurations, a year later. A new production opened last month in Australia , and the first Mandarin-language production is scheduled to open in China next year. Also: Antonio Banderas is working on a new Spanish-language production.
“Phantom” is an icon of 1980s Broadway, created by three of the most legendary figures in musical theater history: the composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, the director Hal Prince and the producer Cameron Mackintosh. All were long devoted to the show — in 2018, when it turned 30, they celebrated with a light show projected onto the Empire State Building in sync with parts of the score; last year, when the show resumed performances after the lockdown, Webber D.J.’d a block party outside the theater. (Yes, there was a remix of the “Phantom” theme.)
The show, about a mask-wearing opera lover who haunts the Paris Opera House and becomes obsessed with a young soprano, is famous for that chandelier, which crashes onto the stage each night, and is characterized by over-the-top spectacle and melodrama.
When the Broadway production opened on Jan. 26, 1988, the New York Times critic Frank Rich criticized many elements of the show, but began his review by acknowledging, “It may be possible to have a terrible time at ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ but you’ll have to work at it.”
By 2014, when Times critic Charles Isherwood revisited, the show had won over many of its skeptics. “Soon after the orchestra struck up those thundering, ominous organ chords, I found my expectations upended, my jaded armor melting away,” Isherwood wrote . “With the distance of more than a decade — and a couple hundred new musicals — since my last visit, I found myself with a new appreciation for this beloved show’s gothic theatricality.”
Over the years “Phantom” has become a fixture that has drawn enormous audiences around the world. Since the first production opened in London in 1986, the show has been seen by more than 145 million people in 183 cities around the world; it has been performed in 17 languages, and next year that number is expected to rise to 18, when the Mandarin production opens.
On Broadway, the show has been seen by 19.8 million people, and has grossed $1.3 billion, since opening, according to figures compiled by the Broadway League. It grossed $867,997 during the week ending Sept. 11, which is decent but not good enough to sustain a run of a musical of this scale (with a large cast and large orchestra and elaborate set, all of which drive up running costs).
The production’s intention to close the show was reported on Friday by The New York Post .
Michael Paulson is the theater reporter. He previously covered religion, and was part of the Boston Globe team whose coverage of clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. More about Michael Paulson
- International edition
- Australia edition
- Europe edition
‘An extraordinary feat’: Phantom of the Opera ends its 35-year Broadway run
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical is set for its final performance in New York, leaving behind an intense fanbase
H e is used to having the worst seat in the house. Playing trumpet in the orchestra pit, Lowell Hershey has heard by Broadway audiences for decades but seldom gets to see the show himself. When The Phantom of the Opera opened in 1988 , however, the Fomo became too much.
“I had never seen the show – I can’t even see the stage,” he says. “So about six months into the show I bought a ticket, hired a sub and and I sat the audience to watch because I was curious to see what the heck was such a big deal about this. ”
As of last Saturday, by Hershey’s count, Phantom had run for 13,973 performances, and he had played trumpet in 10,059 of them. When the production closes on Sunday after 35 years, an all-time Broadway record, he will be in his usual spot at the Majestic Theatre for its swansong.
Phantom superfans are sure to be scrambling for tickets for a last chance to hear songs such as Masquerade, Angel of Music, All I Ask of You and The Music of the Night. Based on the 1910 French novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, the story revolves around a mysterious and disfigured phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House and falls in love with the young soprano, Christine Daaé.
The musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber has been seen by more than 140 million people worldwide and grossed more than $6bn in revenue. The British actor Michael Crawford was the original phantom in both the West End and Broadway productions (Gerard Butler played the part in a 2004 film adaption).
But the show has also left critics cold. Some regard it as a gaudy spectacle, the vanguard of a “British invasion” of New York theatre that put style over substance, commercial smarts over high art. In the prosecutor’s case against “the blockbuster musical” and all that implies, it may well be Exhibit A.
Don’t tell that to Hershey, who took up the trumpet when he was nine and has played in many Broadway shows including Nicholas Nickleby, Big River , Rockabye Hamlet, Fiddler on the Roof, A Little Night Music and Follies. When the job on Phantom came up, he instantly warmed to its lush, romantic score.
“I thought the music sounded good,” the 75-year-old says by phone from New York. “The parts that we play were beautifully orchestrated. If you don’t understand the instrument, it’s possible to sit and write down a trumpet part that is impossible to play, even though it might be within the range of what a trumpeter is capable of playing.
“The orchestrator that did Phantom clearly understood all the instruments. There aren’t too many orchestrators that know how to write for harp but he did, so the harp part is just beautiful and not incredibly difficult. He made it playable. My first reaction was: oh, this is going to be pleasant! ”
Phantom’s instant success on Broadway did not entirely take Hershey by surprise because it had already been playing to packed audiences in London. “When it was announced that it was going to be opening in New York, there was no doubt in anybody’s mind that this was going to be a pretty big hit, that regardless of what the reviews in New York said, it was going to run for maybe a couple of years at least. There wasn’t anybody that would have thought that it could go 35 years. There has never been anything like that.”
After three and a half decades, Hershey must know every line off by heart? “Certainly there’s nothing that surprises me except when somebody delivers the wrong line or something goes wrong. Every once in a while there is a little snafu and that wakes me out of my reverie.”
At one show, he recalls, the celebrated chandelier drop at the end of the first act could not take place for safety reasons because an absent-minded stagehand had accidentally left some sheet music on it. “I remember walking by the stage door on the way out and hearing a voice inside saying: ‘Tell me again how the music ended up on the chandelier.’”
Phantom runs in the family. His daughter performed in the roadshow version of the musical for two years. So the end of Phantom’s run – widely seen as an aftershock of the coronavirus pandemic that reduced tourism – will inevitably be a moment of reflection, although he has no intention of retiring.
“It’s sad. There’s no doubt about it because I’ve had this family that I hang out with. Musicians are always at the theatre well before the show starts. Some people may come in only 10 minutes before, but it’s not the kind of job where you can just walk in, walk to your desk and do your work.
“You have be there and then be ready to play at a particular time. So we hang out there and we shoot the shit: you’re talking to people and these people have become family. Even some of the subs who aren’t members of the orchestra full time have been subbing at the show for more than 30 years. I’ll miss the hang.”
When the final curtain comes down on Sunday, there will be plenty of time to reflect on how and why Phantom became the longest-running show in Broadway history (the crown now passes to Chicago , which started in 1996) and won seven Tony awards and seven Drama Desk awards. Hershey has a couple of thoughts.
One is its producer: Cameron Mackintosh , whose shows Les Misérables and Cats also enjoyed epic longevity. “This guy changed how Broadway shows are marketed to people. I can’t understand why Cats ran for so long being the kind of show that it was: there wasn’t that much there. He is basically a genius of marketing.”
The other key was the director: Hal Prince . Hershey comments: “ He probably pushed Andrew Lloyd Webber in ways to direct in terms of character development and this, that and the other thing that made it what it is. He was amazing.”
Hershey suggests that Broadway had been dying in the 1970s and that the “British invasion” helped turn it into a popular tourist destination. This version of events has led to much ambivalence about Lloyd Webber’s legacy. Five years ago a headline in the New Yorker magazine asked: “Did Andrew Lloyd Webber ruin the musical or rescue it?”
Hershey is adamant: “It always pisses off reviewers when they’re going to review a show and they realise that, whatever they write, it’s not going to matter because we had a $26m advance sale when we opened. At the time, 1988, it was a pretty big advance and so they could have written the worst possible reviews and it wouldn’t have made a difference to whether people came or not. That’s nettlesome for them. ”
Some reviewers were indeed sceptical. Frank Rich, theatre critic of the New York Times, found the lyrics to be full of “numbing, interchangeable pseudo-Hammersteinisms” and the score “so generic that most of the songs could be reordered and redistributed among the characters (indeed, among other Lloyd Webber musicals) without altering the show’s story or meaning”.
He wrote: “Mr Lloyd Webber’s esthetic has never been more baldly stated than in this show, which favors the decorative trappings of art over the troublesome substance of culture and finds more eroticism in rococo opulence and conspicuous consumption than in love or sex.”
A generation later, Phantom arguably remains a glossy monument to 1980s kitsch, a bejewelled music box that springs open to reveal its own hollowness. It has earned a place in the new Museum of Broadway , which includes a chandelier installation made up of more than 13,000 glistening crystals, each representing a Broadway performance of the show.
Ben West , a musical theatre artist and author of the upcoming book The American Musical, says: “This is not a well-written musical. If one is to do an objective analysis of The Phantom of the Opera this is not a great show but there is a difference between the show, which is the underlying work, and the production of said material which you see on stage.
“The production is extraordinary. It is Harold Prince at the top of his game. It is an extraordinary feat of showmanship and stagecraft on his part and the other members of the physical creative team. His staging uses every inch of the stage and it is constantly interesting and has an extraordinary tension in it that makes up for a tension that is lacking in the show itself.”
West, a musical theatre artist and author of the upcoming book The American Musical, continues: “It is just an extraordinary staging of a very underdone work and I do think the staging is largely what people are responding to: a very artful spectacle. I see the deep flaws and inadequacies in the material and yet Harold Prince’s production of the show is quite extraordinary.
“I feel that the success in no small measure is due to his work. Certainly there’s the Andrew Lloyd Webber name recognition factor and the ear-worm melodies with their endless repetition which certainly enhance the memorability of a particular piece. In terms of looking at it as a musical theatre work in the grand scheme, for me it really is a Harold Prince triumph first and foremost.”
Phantom spawned a less successful sequel, Love Never Dies, and it seems fair to assume that Phantom will never die either. It marches on in London until at least March, shows its masked face all over the world and will probably make a dramatic and lucrative Broadway comeback some day.
John Flynn , author of Phantoms of the Opera: The Face Behind the Mask, has seen the show 13 times on three continents. He says: “There’s an underlying base there that has to do with every man or woman who’s ever been considered an underdog. The phantom himself is disfigured but he’s no different from anybody else.
“There are a lot of men out there that women don’t want to go out with on a date because they may not look like the traditional leading man, if you will. Everyone like that is the phantom. They just want to be loved. ”
Speaking from West Palm Beach, Florida, Flynn, 68, adds: “ The Really Useful Group put a lot of money into making the show look brilliant and I’m actually a little sad that it’s ending its record-breaking run on Broadway, because I would have thought it would have continued to run for years. But it will come back in a few years and there’ll be a brand new take on it and I’m looking forward to that.”
- Andrew Lloyd Webber