After 25 Years, Phantom Still Astounds; Gala Anniversary Performance Filled With Surprises

By Adam Hetrick
27 Jan 2013

Ramin Karimloo
Photo by Monica Simoes

Seated on each side of the theatre's orchestra section were cast members from the original Broadway company of Phantom as well as many of the principal actors from the past 25 years on Broadway. Prince acknowledged their work, and also welcomed to the stage the numerous unseen back stage individuals whose work is performed without the thanks of applause. He cited the dedicated work of the stage crew, make-up and wardrobe departments, as well as front-of-house staff, box office, ushers and ticket-takers, who have welcomed audiences for over two decades.

Prince also shared an astounding tidbit. Earlier this week he asked the staff and crew how many of them had been with the production since opening night. He anticipated perhaps a handful of hands to be raised. To his delight and surprise, he told the Jan. 26 audience that more than 30 individuals who were there on opening night were still working with Phantom 25 years after it premiered (none of them cast members).

Before audiences were sent out into the cold – and to a glitzy gala party at the New York Public Library – Prince and Mackintosh had one more surprise for the audience. Four Phantoms gathered on stage: Panaro, John Owen Jones, Ramin Karimloo and Peter Jöback (who will join the Broadway company in April) for a special performance of "The Phantom of the Opera" featuring Boggess. The song was followed by the Phantom foursome delivering a soaring "Music of the Night," including vocals by the on-stage company and Phantom alumni in the audience.

The Phantom cast offered one final goodbye wave, just as the chandelier began to twinkle and took its own bow with a brief dip into the auditorium as canons launched glitter and gilded streamers into the auditorium. A sparkly-eyed audience filtered out of the Majestic Theatre, while the chandelier, having caught much of the air-borne streamers, seemed appropriately dressed in a celebratory garland of gold.

Buy the 25th-anniversary limited-edition commemorative Phantom Playbill at

(Adam Hetrick is a staff writer for whose work also appears in the pages of Playbill magazine.)

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Hugh Panaro, Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo
Photo by Monica Simoes