A look at the longest-running show on Broadway

10. June 2014 10:00 by Julie Merar in Theater  //  Tags:   //   Comments ()


Andrew Lloyd Webber's timeless musical about the mysterious history of the Paris Opera House is the longest-running show on Broadway. Since its opening night in 1988, The Phantom of the Opera has been enthralling audiences with its beautiful score and intriguing story of love and betrayal for over 25 years. During that run, the musical has been produced in theaters around the world. It was even made into a feature-length film in 2004 that was nominated for three Golden Globes and three Oscars. As a result, Phantom of the Opera tickets are some of the most highly sought in New York City. 

Opening night
The show first opened in London's West End at Her Majesty's Theater on Sept. 27, 1986. Two years later It was transferred to Broadway, where it still runs at the Majestic Theater. To this day, there have been more than 10,000 performances of the Broadway run. In addition, the worldwide gross ticket sales for the show have topped $5.6 billion, making it one of the most successful musicals of all time.

Accolades for Phantom
The 1988 production of The Phantom of the Opera won seven Tony Awards. In addition, it received seven Drama Desk Awards, five Outer Critics Circle Awards and two Olivier Awards. The worldwide tour version also managed to rake in a number of awards, including four LA Drama Critics Awards and six Victoria Green Room Awards in Australia.

Theater critic Richard Barkley writing for the Sunday Express said of the original production, "The Phantom of the Opera is a gorgeous operatic extravaganza that is a thrill to the blood and a sensual feast for the eye." It isn't difficult to see how the show has been able to attract audiences for all these years.

The story of the Phantom
The legend of a masked man who lives deep in the underbelly of the Paris Opera House was first dreamt up by a French author named Gaston Leroux. That novel went on to be serialized in international newspapers before it was immortalized as a Universal motion picture during the early days of cinema. Leroux was inspired by an actual event that happened at the Parisian theater in the 1880s. During that time, a counterweight from the grand chandelier fell from the ceiling and hit an audience member. Leroux took this story and ran with it, creating one of the most memorable tales of the 20th century in the process.

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