My First Broadway Show: Phantom of the Opera Sparks a Lifetime Habit

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21 Jan 2013

Writer Adam Hetrick with his dad, Harold
Writer Adam Hetrick with his dad, Harold

The Phantom of the Opera's astonishing 25th anniversary on Broadway stirs the memory of Playbill staffer Adam Hetrick, whose first Broadway show surrounded him — and his parents — with "The Music of the Night."


The Majestic Theatre holds a special place for my family. It's where my mom and dad, at 26-years-old, saw the original cast of A Little Night Music during their first trip to New York City as a couple in 1973. The Majestic is also where they would take me to my own first Broadway show, The Phantom of the Opera, when I was 11 years old.

In the same way my dad recalls Hermione Gingold doing a bell-kick during her curtain call and Glynis Johns' rendition of Stephen Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns" on a chilly September evening, I remember standing on 44th Street on a hot Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 21, 1991, as the line outside the Majestic Theatre wrapped down the block past the now-long-gone Mamma Leone's. I also remember my first Phantom and Christine — Mark Jacoby and Karen Culliver.

I had lived with the Phantom cast album for over a year. I sent away for the libretto, and read through the stage directions alone in my room, picturing what the show might look like.

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


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