It may be Broadway's longest-running musical, but that hasn't stopped choreographer Gillian Lynne from improving her Tony-nominated work in the New York production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, which was directed by multiple Tony winner Harold Prince.
In an interview with thestage.co.uk, Lynne said she has reworked the choreography for the song “Masquerade,” which opens the second act of the musical at the Majestic Theatre. Lynne told the theatrical website, “I saw Phantom and thought: ‘Why did I do something as dull as that? I can do better.’ So when I was in New York I changed it, and I am going to change it in London.”
Lynne, whose Broadway credits include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Aspects of Love; How Now, Dow Jones; Pickwick; and The Roar of the Greasepaint — The Smell of the Crowd, also commented on the forthcoming revival of Cats, which will begin previews on Broadway in July. Lynne, who received her first Tony nomination for her work on that feline-themed Lloyd Webber musical, is unhappy that Tony winner Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton, In the Heights, Bring It On The Musical, 9 to 5) will choreograph the revival based on her original work.
The choreographer told The Stage that decision had angered her, adding, “It makes me feel like I’d like to murder. I have had a rotten time because of it. I did create the show, I really did.” Lynne said producers of the New York revival told her that the production needed “amazing changes.”
“And we all went: ‘We have just had this amazing success in London—at the London Palladium, twice.’ But he said that was how it was there, and we all turned off then, really,” Lynne said.
Composed by Lloyd Webber and based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the original Broadway production opened in 1982 at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre (currently home to Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock —The Musical), where it ran for 7,485 performances over the course of 18 years. The musical was originally produced on Broadway by Cameron Mackintosh, The Really Useful Company Limited, David Geffen and The Shubert Organization. The revival of Cats will begin previews July 14 prior to an official opening July 31 at the Neil Simon Theatre (250 W. 52nd Street).