So why does it say “longest running American musical?” Because Phantom is actually the longest-running musical on Broadway. Chicago is the runner up! The Phantom of the Opera, which by provenance is a British musical, makes Broadway history by going strong for over 30 years and over 13,000 performances.
Reprising our recent post regarding #PhantomFashion30, we want you to know it is not too late to catch up with the newly minted masks:
Behind the mask is a long-running– at 30+ years, in fact, the longest running– Broadway musical.
In celebration of that milestone, which occurred for The Phantom of the Opera on this past January 26th, and for the benefit of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, 30 well-loved designers are reinterpreting the iconic mask, originally designed for the production by Maria Björnson and realized by milliner Rodney Gordon.
The #PhantomFashion30 designers include well-loved brands and names, such as Badgley Mischka, Chloe Gosselin, and Kenneth Cole. Also tackling the design challenge are Christian Roth, Dennis Basso, Edie Parker, Eugenia Kim, Gigi Burris, Ilesteva, Isabel and Ruben Toledo, Judith Leiber, Kendra Scott, Lizzie Fortunato, Marchesa, Naeem Khan, Nick Graham, Nicole Miller, Pamella Roland, Paul Marlow, Rebecca Minkoff, Sachin & Babi, Sally LaPointe, Stephen Dweck, Swarovski, Tadashi Shoji, Tanya Taylor, Title of Work, Vivienne Tam, Wolk Morais, and Zang Toi.
The #PhantomFashion30 designs were revealed during an exclusive invite-only event sponsored by Bank of America on Tuesday, October 30. Beginning Wednesday, October 31, the thirty masks will then go on display at the Museum of the City of New York for 30 days.
These one of a kind creations will be up for bids during a special on-line auction from the 30th of October through November 30th, with proceeds going to Broadway Cares.
#PhantomFashion30 will have 30 well-loved designers reinterpreting the iconic mask, originally designed by the late Maria Björnson and realized by milliner Rodney Gordon, through their individual aesthetic.
The #PhantomFashion30 designs will be revealed during an exclusive invite-only event sponsored by Bank of America on Tuesday, October 30. Beginning Wednesday, October 31, the 30 masks will then go on display at the Museum of the City of New York for 30 days. These one of a kind creations will be up for bids during a special on-line auction from the 30th of October through November 30th in benefit to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
It is unrivaled, really, to have a show run for so long that it has gone well past its first generation. Longevity, of course, is not the only thing to recommend the longest-running musical melodrama on Broadway.
The Phantom of the Opera, still going strong after 30 years on Broadway at The Majestic, has a new leading anti-hero, the young Broadway veteran Ben Crawford. He will be donning the mask originally worn by Michael Crawford when the show opened in January 1988. and more recently by Norm Lewis and James Barbour. Crawford was last seen on the stage as Mr. Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The 19th Raoul in the musical’s storied history on Broadway,Jay Armstrong Johnson will be joining the cast on April 30th. Johnson has appeared in the original Broadway casts of Hair (revival, in his Broadway debut), and Catch Me If You Can to name a few of his many theater credits. Johnson has also appeared in movies and television, including his leading role in ABC TV’s Quantico.
Ben Crawford as the malevolent masked man and Jay Armstrong Johnson as the dashing Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, join current principal cast members Ali Ewoldt as Christine, (with Kaley Ann Voorhees taking on the role at certain performances,) Laird Mackintosh as Monsieur André, Craig Bennett as Monsieur Firmin, Raquel Suarez Groen as Carlotta, Carlton Moe as Piangi,Maree Johnson as Madame Giry and Kara Klein as Meg Giry.
To learn more about Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic Phantom, and for tickets to the Broadway production (with links to its worldwide reach), please visit The Phantom‘s website.
The “Great Puppet,” a French theatrical tradition that spanned nearly a century, made horror an everyday over-the-top phenomenon.
The Grand Guignol was a small theater, seating just under 300, that left a huge impact on atrocity and terror. Their mayhem took the ghoulish to its apex, a level Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk try to mimic with some success in their televised American Horror Story.
Our American stages have never had a great tradition of frightening the audience. Phantom of the Opera is the closest thing to a scary story on Broadway right now. It is a crowd pleaser with its lush music and eccentric anti-hero.
There is nothing genuinely ghoulish about Phantom, which has had a nearly 30-year run at The Majestic Theatre
and has gone around the globe in many touring companies.
Your children, dressed as ghosts and ghouls, witches and werewolves, may be scarier than anything you’ll see on stage this year. The movies, well, they are another story; many as truly blood-curdling, scream-inducing as anything the Grand Guignol came up with in their heydey. Hitchcock’s works are subtler than the Saw franchise, and therefore much much spookier. I spent the shower scene of Psychounder the chair in the cinama house when I saw it.
Your assignment, my pets, is to see the 1943 film of the same name as the long-running Broadway musical.
The cinematic version is not strictly speaking a musical but it is full of melodies. Many a colorful opera is staged during the course of the movie. Nelson Eddy is Anatole, the baritone in love with the soprano Christine Dubois (Susanna Foster), who is also the object of adulation for Raoul (Edgar Barrier), the prefect of the Sécurité– in other words, a police captain.
She is also adored at a distance by a modest and timid older man, Erique Claudin, played by Claude Rains. Unlike Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom, he is not a singer; he is the first violin in the Paris Opéra Orchestra. Like Broadway’s Phantom he is so obsessed with Christine that he will kill for her advancement. Along the way, this meek and odd little man collects some genuine and deep-seated grievances to warrant his unravelling as well.
Claudin has a champion in the figure of Franz Liszt (Fritz Lieber) who admires the concerto the violinist submitted- without success- to a recalcitrant publisher, Pleyel (Miles Mander). None of this diverts Claudin from Christine. And, oh, do watch out for that chandelier!
Once you have completed your homework, go see #PhantomBroadway again, or for the first time. It is lusher and more layered than the wonderful 1943 film version of Phantom of the Opera. (Note that if it happens you are not in New York City, you may find Phantom on Tour or in London and Budapest, for instance.)
It is truly a musical, operatically filled with memorable lyrics and superb music. It is also so fantastical as to invite repeated visits to a theater near you.
The production is the longest running Broadway musical, having hit its 29th year mark last January. The Phantom currently in residence is James Barbour, with Ali Ewoldt and Rachel Eskanazi-Gold alternating as Christine. Raoul, who is a Vicomte and not a policeman here, is played by Rodney Ingram.
In the Lloyd Webber incantation, the Phantom is a singer with some of the most gorgeous songs to sing. He is a beautiful, evil-hearted beast. He is Christine Daaé’s Svengali and his melodies haunt as he haunts the Paris Opéra House.
For tickets, please visit the #PhantomBroadway website, which will also guide you to the touring companies.
When I was last in London a gazillion years ago, I was thrilled to have the chance to go to a Thursday matinee, as well as the usual Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday ones. One more outing in a week full of theater adventures. I always thought it was a great idea to spread out the matinees so binge goers, and out- of-towners eager to see whatever was on on the Great White Way could do more with their week in New York.
Three shows now offering you the Thursday option are “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella,””Mamma Mia!” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” ”Matilda the Musical” (reviewed with the current cast in these pages recently) may give the idea a try this summer.
“Cinderella” now features the enormously likeable Fran Drescher as the wicked stepmother. The infectious gaiety that is “Mamma Mia,” which is also playing Vegas as it happens, has recently moved to the Broadhurst Theatre on W44th Street. “The Phantom of the Opera” is celebrating more than 25 years at The Majestic.
“Phantom,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Rock Of Ages,” and “Chicago” have long also had Monday night curtains, another great way to extend the Broadway week.
Charlotte D’Amboise as Roxie Hart with Ryan Worsing and Michael Cusumano in a production of “Chicago.” Photo by Jeremy Daniel
This show does not have a Thursday matinee, or a Monday night, so you’ll have to stick to one of the more traditional days to see “Bullets Over Broadway” which, by the way, hits the bull’s eye. “Bullets…,” based on the Woody Allen film from 1995, and written by Mr. Allen and Douglas McGrath (who also penned “Beautiful…”) starts off with a bang– in case you’re worried that you are in the wrong theater, a machine gun sprays the play’s title on the inside curtain– and doesn’t let up ’til the final curtain drops. The musical’s style rings in a little like “The Producers,” which Susan Stroman also famously directed and choreographed. Stroman’s signature dancing in unconventional locales has a tap chorus hoofing fiercely on top of the train headed for out-of-town tryouts.
In an impressive cast, Nick Cordero is a revelation as the soulful thug Cheech. Marin Mazzie gives her all as an egocentric star on the wane. This is a Tony-worthy performance.
“Bullets” does something that Broadway hasn’t done since the beginning of the last century, using standards and in a way that generally is not done– the tunes, by Cole Porter and others– move the story along and further the plot.