The Jan. 9, 2006, performance at the Majestic Theatre will not only push the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical into the history books as Broadway's longest-running show, but a special onstage musical presentation is being devised to follow the musical. Following the entire Majestic experience, which begins at 6:30 PM, will be a masked ball at The Waldorf Astoria's Grand Ballroom.
Tickets for the public are not on sale, although some sort of participation for fans is expected to be announced.
The Cameron Mackintosh/Really Useful Group, Inc. production, directed by Harold Prince, will break the record held by current champ Cats, which was also written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and produced by Cameron Mackintosh.
Specific details about the evening won't be announced for several weeks. When Mackintosh's Les Miserables surpassed the performance count of A Chorus Line, however, a special post-show presentation included references to A Chorus Line (a melding of the songs "One" and "One Day More") and boasted special guests.
The Phantom performance "will be followed by a one-night-only onstage presentation being devised by the musical's creators to uniquely mark this historic occasion," according to Mackintosh and company. A glamorous "Masked Ball" in the world-renowned Grand Ballroom of the landmark Waldorf Astoria Hotel follows. After 17 years, The Phantom of the Opera continues to play to near-capacity audiences and is consistently among Broadway's highest-grossing shows.
On Broadway, since its debut on Jan. 26, 1988, The Phantom of the Opera has grossed nearly $600 million, making it the highest-grossing show in Broadway history. Total attendance is at 11 million.
Howard McGillin plays the title character. Joining him in the record-breaking company are Sandra Joseph, who plays Christine; Tim Martin Gleason, as Raoul; George Lee Andrews, an original cast member who has been with the show for the entire run, as opera manager Monsieur André. Broadway veteran Tim Jerome plays his business partner (and comic sidekick), Monsieur Firmin. Anne Runolfsson plays opera diva Carlotta. Marilyn Caskey, who previously played the role of Carlotta for several years, now plays the mysterious ballet mistress Madame Giry. (She is the only actress in the history of the Broadway production to have been contracted to play both principal roles). Larry Wayne Morbitt plays the vainglorious opera tenor Piangi, a role he's performed for over seven years at The Majestic, since 1998. Heather McFadden, who performed with the national tour, is making her Broadway debut as Madame Giry's daughter, the young ballerina Meg. (Currently on maternity leave, McFadden will return the first week in January. Until then, the role of Meg is being played by Kara Klein, direct from the national tour in her Broadway debut.) At certain performances, Rebecca Pitcher, most recently Christine with the current national tour, plays the role of Christine.
The 35-member cast features three performers who have been with the show since the beginning: George Lee Andrews (Monsieur André), Mary Leigh Stahl (Wardrobe Mistress/Confidante) and Richard Warren Pugh (Don Attilio).
As of the record-breaking date, the five longest-running shows in Broadway history will be:
Oh! Calcutta! (5,959 performances) The Phantom of the Opera, Cats and Les Misérables were all produced by Cameron Mackintosh.
The Phantom of the Opera had its world premiere on Oct. 9, 1986 at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, winning every major British theatre award including the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards.
Based the classic novel "Le Fantôme de L’Opéra" by Gaston Leroux, the musical "tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command."
Phantom has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is directed by Harold Prince. Lyrics are by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe) and the book is by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The Phantom of the Opera has production design by the late Maria Björnson, lighting by Andrew Bridge and sound by Martin Levan. Musical staging and choreography is by Gillian Lynne. Orchestrations are by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The regular performance schedule is Monday and Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8 PM and Tuesday evenings at 7 PM with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM. For tickets, call Tele-charge at (212) 239-6200, visit www.telecharge.com or visit The Majestic Theatre box office (247 West 44th Street).