Okay, so now as Phantom approaches its 12,000 performance at the Majestic on November 28th, it is time to visit (or perhaps re-visit) this record-breaking musical.
After January 26, 2017, as it enters its 29th year on Broadway, Phantom of the Opera becomes an event, a go-to destination, a bright fixture. You get the picture. Go, see James Barbour in the lead role opposite Ali Ewoldt as Christine Danae, and welcome the returns of Kaley Ann Voorhees as the Christine alternative, and Linda Balgord as Madame Giry in the new year.
Phantom has broken records before, of course, in January 26, 2013, it was the first show to celebrate 25 years on the stage. It became the longest-running show in Broadway history on January 9, 2006 with its 7,486th performance, surpassing the previous record-holder Cats, also by Andrew Lloyd Webber and also produced by Cameron Mackintosh. Since breaking the record 11 years ago, Phantom has played more than 4,500 performances – which by itself would be a smash hit run for a Broadway musical.
To put this in perspective, sort of, note that Broadway’s second longest-running show, Chicago (in revival) has played for just 20 years. Phantom has had the curtain fall on 4,000 more shows than Chicago over the years. Even now, it is consistently among Broadway’s highest-grossing shows and remains a box office star. Phantom also plays to the world, and its productions around the globe have been enjoyed by a staggering 140 million people in 35 countries and 160 cities in 15 languages. As we said, its an event!
After 11,000 performances, a musical drama could be forgiven if it began to show some wear. In theater time, a run of more than 25 years is a very long lifetime.
The Phantom of the Opera, in its 27th year on Broadway, at the Majestic Theatre, hasn’t aged, or rather it has aged well. This is not a show resting on its laurels. Or on its worldwide success in tours all over the US, in Stockholm or Budapest or Istanbul, among the many places it has found a home.
Despite the myriad other accomplishments of his career, Phantom may prove to be Andrew Lloyd Webber’s crowning legacy. It was a breakout hit from its opening night at the Majestic in 1988, where it walked away with 7 Tony Awards, including for Best Musical, Design and Direction.
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