The year of milestones for The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway continues Oct. 12, when the matinee performance of the Andrew Lloyd Webber smash surpasses the run of A Chorus Line to become the third longest-running show in the history of Broadway.
On May 9, the British-born show surpassed Oh! Calcutta! by playing performance No, 5,960, and on June 13 the show hit No. 6,000. The Saturday matinee (performance No. 6,138, for the record) marks a special milestone for producer Cameron Mackintosh, as well: When Phantom hits No. 3, it means Mackintosh produced the three longest-running shows on Broadway, including Cats (at No. 1) and Les Misérables (No. 2). Cats closed in 2000, and Mackintosh, 55, announced this month that on March 15, 2003, he'll close Les Miz. It seems a sure thing that Phantom, which is still doing big business at the Majestic Theatre, will surpass Les Miz. Mackintosh's Miss Saigon is currently No. 6 on the long-run list.
This also means that Cats composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has penned two of the longest-running shows in Broadway history.
Mackintosh has said he has retired from producing any new projects, but he still oversees his ongoing properties (including a 2003 US tour of his Oliver!) and works that he's been developing for years (such as a planned stage version of Mary Poppins, based on the P.L. Travers book and using the Disney film score).
Both Phantom and Les Miz continue on their North American tours, with no end in sight. The producers, Cameron Mackintosh//Really Useful Theatre Company, Inc., bill The Phantom of the Opera as the most successful stage musical of all time, with worldwide ticket sales exceeding $3.2 billion. The winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, the New York production has been seen by 9.4 million people. Worldwide, Phantom has been seen by over 100 million people.
The Phantom of the Opera stars Howard McGillin in the title role (now the longest-running Phantom in the history of the Broadway production), with Lisa Vroman as Christine and Michael Shawn Lewis as Raoul. The musical also co-stars Jeff Keller, George Lee Andrews, Rebecca Eichenberger, Marilyn Caskey, Larry Wayne Morbitt and Joelle Gates. At certain performances, Adrienne McEwan plays Christine. A private party to celebrate the milestone will be thrown for the company after the Oct. 12 evening show.
On June 5, the international smashzilla, now in its 15th year on Broadway, was finally made available at the Theatre Development Fund's TKTS discount-tickets booth located in Duffy Square. The show had avoided "the booth" until then, which had been good news for competing shows that do appear at the walk-up, cash-only counter, popular with tourists and those who cannot afford $95 for a show. Phantom tickets were made available at a 25 percent discount June 5. A spokesman for the show said that a decision about continuing the offer will be made by the company on a day-to-day basis.
The transporting musical, filled with some of Prince's most indelible and visual compositions, won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
Based on the novel by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera tells of the deformed, masked musical genius who coaches and falls in love with a young soprano, Christine. He uses all his devious tricks to help her rise to the heights of the Paris Opera. One such trick includes sending the auditorium chandelier onto the stage in an attempt to frighten the shortsighted management of the opera house.
The score, rich with opera pastiche, soaring ballads and love songs that have been adopted by lovers for wedding ceremonies ("All I Ask of You" is a favorite), the score includes "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," "The Music of the Night," "Think of Me," "Masquerade," "The Phantom of the Opera," "The Point of No Return" and more.
Michael Crawford originated the title role in London and New York. Crawford is now starring in the dawning Dance of the Vampires at the Minskoff Theatre.
Phantom's lyrics are by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe) and the book is by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Designers are Maria Björnson (scenic and costumes), Andrew Bridge (lighting) and Martin Levan (sound). Musical staging and choreography is by Gillian Lynne. Orchestrations are by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The performance schedule for The Phantom of the Opera is 8 PM Monday-Saturday, 2 PM Wednesday and Saturday. For $20-$90 ticket information, call (212) 239-6200 or (800) 432-7250 or visit the Majestic Theatre box office (247 West 44th Street).