| Broadway’s ‘Phantom of the Opera’ Hits 35-Year MilestoneFrequent Business Traveler

January 29, 2023

“The Phantom of the Opera” – the longest-running show in Broadway history – celebrated 35 years of haunting the Great White Way on Thursday.

“Phantom” celebrated its 10,000th Broadway performance on February 11, 2012, the first production to ever do so and it’s been going strong ever since, with the exception of the coronavirus-pandemic induced hiatus that darkened the Theater District for 18 months.

The show’s producer, Cameron Mackintosh, had originally announced that the show would close in February, shortly after hitting the 35-year mark but the outpouring of support and surge in ticket sales led him to announce an eight-week extension into April.

Theatergoers lined up at the Majestic Theatre on the night of Phantom’s 35th anniversary

Indeed, right after the closing was announced, “Phantom” enjoyed its highest-grossing week ever, recording $2.2 million in ticket sales.

For the uninitiated, “Phantom” is based on the 1910 French novel “Le Fantôme de l’Opéra” by Gaston Leroux, a French journalist and author of detective fiction.

The soaring spectacle is a Gothic melodrama about the beautiful soprano, Christine Daaé, who becomes the object of fixation of a mysterious masked musical genius who lives in and haunts the subterranean labyrinth beneath the Palais Garnier, the 1,979-seat opera house at the Place de l’Opéra in Paris.

It features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart, and a libretto by Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgo and is known for its 27-person orchestra and its falling chandelier, perhaps the most famous prop in the musical.

The falling chandelier is based upon a real incident that occurred at Palais Garnier in 1896 when a 1,764-pound (800-kg) counterweight fell, killing a 56-year-old concierge.  The ornamental light fixture, which is based on the original, weighs 1,500 pounds (680 kg) and has more than 6,000 crystals, immediately earned praise from critics.

The show won the Outer Critics Circle award for best musical in 1988 as well as seven Tony Awards, including the one for best musical, and the song “The Phantom of the Opera” is perhaps one of the most recognizable pieces in musical theater.  It was originally recorded by Sarah Brightman and Steve Harley and became a hit single in the United Kingdom in 1986 before the show debuted.

In the musical, it was sung by Brightman and Michael Crawford in their roles as Christine Daaé and the Phantom.

In sleep, he sang to me
In dreams, he came
That voice which calls to me
And speaks my name

And do I dream again?
For now, I find
The phantom of the, opera is here
Inside my mind

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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