Phantom of the Opera Hits a Majestic New Milestone Today

News   Phantom of the Opera Hits a Majestic New Milestone Today
Broadway's longest-running musical plays its 12,000th performance November 28.
James Barbour
James Barbour Matthew Murphy

As Broadway‘s longest-running musical, The Phantom of the Opera breaks a new record with every performance. But the November 28 performance marks a special milestone: Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, which opened January 26, 1988, plays its 12,000th performance—an achievement that would have been unthinkable to the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Rodgers & Hammerstein, who worked at a time when shows rarely exceeded 1,000 performances.

Billed as "the most successful stage musical of all time," the Cameron Mackintosh/Really Useful Group, Inc. production was directed by Harold Prince and won seven 1988 Tony Awards including Best Musical. It has played at the Majestic Theatre since its opening.

The cast will mark the achievement at a private celebration thrown by the producers after the evening show.

One of the most successful stage productions of all-time, the New York production has played to more than 17 million people and grossed more than $1 billion. It will also celebrate 29 Years on Broadway on Thursday, January 26, 2017.

Leading man James Barbour continues in the title role, alongside co-stars Ali Ewoldt (Christine Daaé) and Jordan Donica (Raoul).

In casting news, two fan favorites will be returning to the New York production in the coming months:

Linda Balgord will return to the role of Madame Giry beginning Monday evening, December 12, 2016. She succeeds Rebecca Eichenberger, who will play her final performance on Saturday evening, December 10.

Kaley Ann Voorhees will return as the Christine Alternate for a limited engagement beginning the week of January 23, 2017. She succeeds Rachel Eskenazi-Gold, who will play her final performance on Saturday matinee, January 21. Ms. Eskenazi-Gold will return to the role the week of July 3.

Continuing in their roles are Laird Mackintosh (Monsieur André), Craig Bennett (Monsieur Firmin), Michele McConnell (Carlotta), John Easterlin (Piangi) and Kara Klein (Meg Giry).

Based on 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 lyrics by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe), and book by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Production design is 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 flagship London production of The Phantom of the Opera opened October 9, 1986 at Her Majesty’s Theatre. In October 2011, it reached 25 Years, a milestone that was celebrated with a special production at London’s Royal Albert Hall. A live recording was released on CD by Decca and a DVD of the event was released by Universal Home Entertainment. In October 2016, the West End production celebrated its 30th anniversary and surpassed 12,500 performances.

The show became the first stage production to reach worldwide grosses of $6 billion, which it did in 2014. Box office revenues surpass the world’s highest-grossing film Avatar (at $2.8 billion), as well as such other blockbuster movies as Titanic, The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park and Star Wars.

Worldwide, 140 million people have seen The Phantom of the Opera in 35 countries and 160 cities in 15 languages, according to the producers.

There are currently seven productions of The Phantom of the Opera playing around the world: London; New York; Sapporo, Japan (in repertory); Budapest, Hungary (in repertory); Prague, Czech Republic; Stockholm, Sweden; and Cameron Mackintosh’s new production, now in its third year on North American Tour. The next confirmed international opening will be Gothenburg, Sweden in August 2017.

Since September 2010, thousands of high school and college student productions have been licensed through R&H Theatricals.

Read: More Little-Known Phantom Facts.

See where Phantom of the Opera stands among Broadway's Longest-Running Shows.

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