9 October 1986
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Charles Hart Richard Stilgoe (additional)
Andrew Lloyd Webber Richard Stilgoe
Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux
9 October 1986: Her Majesty's Theatre, London
See list 1986 West End 1988 Broadway 1988 Vienna 1988 Tokyo 1989 Toronto 1989 Stockholm 1989 Los Angeles 1990 Hamburg 1990 Melbourne 1991 First US Tour 1992 Second US Tour 1993 San Francisco 1993 Scheveningen 1996 Basel 1997 Auckland 1999 Mexico City 2000 Copenhagen 2001 South Korea 2002 Madrid 2003 Budapest 2004 Film adaptation 2005 São Paulo 2006 Las Vegas Spectacular 2007 Melbourne 2008 Third US Tour 2008 Warsaw 2009 Buenos Aires 2009 South Korea 2011 25th Anniversary 2012 UK Tour 2013 North American Tour 2013 Hamburg 2014 Moscow 2014 Tartu 2014 Prague 2015 Helsinki 2015 New Zealand Tour 2015 Puerto Rico 2016 Stockholm Various international and amateur productions
1986 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical 1988 Tony Award for Best Musical
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Richard Stilgoe
Richard Stilgoe, Charles Hart
The Phantom of the Opera, Christine Daaé
Andrew Lloyd Webber plays, Musicals
The phantom of the opera musical discussion broadway breakdown
The Phantom of the Opera is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart with additions from Richard Stilgoe. Lloyd Webber and Stilgoe also wrote the musical's book together. Based on the French novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux, its central plot revolves around a beautiful soprano, Christine Daaé, who becomes the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius living in the subterranean labyrinth beneath the Palais Garnier.
- The phantom of the opera musical discussion broadway breakdown
- andrew lloyd webber on the history of the phantom behind the scenes the phantom of the opera
- Design direction and choreography
- First preview at Sydmonton
- West End
- Amateur productions
- Act I
- Act II
- Original casts
- Current casts of English language productions
- Notable West End replacements
- Notable Broadway replacements
- Musical numbers
- Allegations of plagiarism
- Other productions
- Feature film version
- Phantom The Las Vegas Spectacular
- Copyright release
The musical opened in London's West End in 1986, and on Broadway in 1988. It won the 1986 Olivier Award and the 1988 Tony Award for Best Musical, and Michael Crawford (in the title role) won the Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical. It is the longest running show in Broadway history by a wide margin, and celebrated its 10,000th Broadway performance on 11 February 2012, the first production ever to do so. It is the second longest-running West End musical, after Les Misérables, and the third longest-running West End show overall, after The Mousetrap.
With total estimated worldwide gross receipts of over $5.6 billion and total Broadway gross of $845 million, Phantom was the most financially successful entertainment event until The Lion King passed it in 2014. By 2011, it had been seen by over 130 million people in 145 cities across 27 countries, and continues to play in London and New York.
andrew lloyd webber on the history of the phantom behind the scenes the phantom of the opera
In 1986, Lloyd Webber contacted Cameron Mackintosh, the co-producer of Cats and Song and Dance, to propose a new musical. He was aiming for a romantic piece, and suggested Gaston Leroux's book The Phantom of the Opera as a basis. They screened both the 1925 Lon Chaney and the 1943 Claude Rains motion picture versions, but neither saw an effective way to make the leap from film to stage. Later, in New York, Lloyd Webber found a second-hand copy of the original, long-out-of-print Leroux novel, which supplied the necessary inspiration to develop a musical: "I was actually writing something else at the time, and I realized that the reason I was hung up was because I was trying to write a major romantic story, and I had been trying to do that ever since I started my career. Then with the Phantom, it was there!"
Lloyd Webber first approached Jim Steinman to write the lyrics because of his "dark obsessive side", but he declined in order to fulfill his commitments on a Bonnie Tyler album. Alan Jay Lerner was then recruited, but he became seriously ill after joining the project and was forced to withdraw; none of his contributions (mostly involving the song "Masquerade") are credited in the show. Richard Stilgoe, the lyricist for Starlight Express, wrote most of the original lyrics for the production. Charles Hart, a young and then-relatively unknown lyricist, later rewrote many of the lyrics, along with original lyrics for "Think of Me". Some of Stilgoe's original contributions are still present in the final version, however.
Inspired in part by an earlier musical version of the same story by Ken Hill, Lloyd Webber's score is sometimes operatic in style but maintains the form and structure of a musical throughout. The full-fledged operatic passages are reserved principally for subsidiary characters such as Andre and Firmin, Carlotta, and Piangi. They are also used to provide the content of the fictional "operas" that are taking place within the show itself, viz., Hannibal, Il Muto, and the Phantom's masterwork, Don Juan Triumphant. "Here, Lloyd Webber pastiched various styles from the grand operas of Meyerbeer through to Mozart and even Gilbert and Sullivan." These pieces are often presented as musical fragments, interrupted by dialogue or action sequences in order to clearly define the musical's "show within a show" format. The musical extracts from the Phantom's opera, "Don Juan Triumphant", during the latter stages of the show, are dissonant and modern—"suggesting, perhaps, that the Phantom is ahead of his time artistically".
Design, direction, and choreography
Maria Björnson designed the sets and over 200 costumes, including the elaborate gowns in the "Masquerade" sequence. Her set designs, including the chandelier, subterranean gondola, and sweeping staircase, earned her multiple awards. Hal Prince, director of Cabaret, Candide, Follies, and Lloyd Webber's Evita, directed the production, while Gillian Lynne, associate director and choreographer of Cats, provided the integral musical staging and choreography.
First preview at Sydmonton
A preview of the first act was staged at Sydmonton (Lloyd Webber's home) in 1985, starring Colm Wilkinson (later the star of the Toronto production) as the Phantom, Sarah Brightman as Kristin (later Christine), and Clive Carter (later a member of the London cast) as Raoul. This very preliminary production used Richard Stilgoe's original unaltered lyrics, and many songs sported names that were later changed, such as "What Has Time Done to Me" ("Think of Me"), and "Papers" ("Notes"). The Phantom's original mask covered the entire face and remained in place throughout the performance, obscuring the actor's vision and muffling his voice. Björnson designed the now-iconic half-mask to replace it, and the unmasking sequence was added. Clips of this preview performance were included on the DVD of the 2004 film production.
Phantom began previews at Her Majesty's Theatre in London's West End on 27 September 1986 under the direction of Hal Prince, then opened on 9 October. It was choreographed by Gillian Lynne and the sets were designed by Maria Björnson, with lighting by Andrew Bridge. Michael Crawford starred in the title role with Sarah Brightman as Christine and Steve Barton as Raoul. The production, still playing at Her Majesty's, celebrated its 10,000th performance on 23 October 2010, with Lloyd Webber and the original Phantom, Michael Crawford, in attendance. It is the second longest-running musical in West End (and world) history behind Les Misérables, and third overall behind The Mousetrap.
A 25th-anniversary stage performance was held in London on 1 and 2 October 2011 at the Royal Albert Hall and was screened live in cinemas worldwide. The production was produced by Cameron Mackintosh, directed by Laurence Connor, musical staging & choreography by Gillian Lynne, set design by Matt Kinley, costume design by Maria Björnson, lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe, and sound design by Mick Potter. The cast included Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom, Sierra Boggess as Christine, Hadley Fraser as Raoul, Wynne Evans as Piangi, Wendy Ferguson as Carlotta, Barry James as Monsieur Firmin, Gareth Snook as Monsieur Andre, Liz Robertson as Madame Giry, and Daisy Maywood as Meg Giry. Lloyd Webber and several original cast members, including Crawford and Brightman, were in attendance. A DVD and Blu-ray of the performance was released in February 2012, and it began airing in March 2012 on PBS's "Great Performances" television series.
In March 2012, a new production directed by Laurence Connor began a UK and Ireland tour to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the show, beginning at the Theatre Royal Plymouth and travelling to Manchester, Bristol, Dublin, Leeds, Edinburgh, Milton Keynes, Cardiff, and Southampton. John Owen-Jones and Earl Carpenter alternate as the Phantom with Katie Hall and Olivia Brereton as Christine and Simon Bailey as Raoul.
Phantom began Broadway previews at the Majestic Theatre on 9 January 1988 and opened on 26 January. Crawford, Brightman, and Barton reprised their respective roles from the West End. The production continues to play at the Majestic, where it became the first Broadway musical in history to surpass 10,000 performances on 11 February 2012. On 26 January 2013, the production celebrated its 25th anniversary with its 10,400th performance. It is, by over 3,000 performances, the longest-running show in Broadway history. By November 2016, Phantom had been staged over 12,000 times over 28 years.
In 2013, the rights to perform "Phantom" were released to non-professional groups. CLOC musical theatre staged the world amateur premier in May 2013 at the National Theatre in Melbourne, Australia. In June 2013, Windmill Theatre Company staged the production at the Drum Theatre in Dandenong. Also in June 2013, Wellington Musical Theatre debuted the New Zealand premiere starring Chris Crowe and Barbara Graham.
On the stage of the fictional Opéra Populaire in 1905, an auction of old theatrical props is underway. Lot 665, purchased by the elderly Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, is a papier-mâché music box in the shape of a barrel organ attached to the figure of a monkey in Persian robes playing the cymbals. He eyes it sadly, noting that its details appear "exactly as she said". Lot 666 is a shattered chandelier that, the auctioneer explains, has a connection to "the strange affair of the Phantom of the Opera, a mystery never fully explained". As the chandelier is uncovered, its lamps flicker to life and it magically rises over the audience to its original position in the rafters. As it ascends, the years roll back and the Opéra returns to its 1880s grandeur. ("Overture")
It is now 1881. As Carlotta, the Opéra's resident soprano prima donna, rehearses for the evening's gala performance, a backdrop collapses without warning. Startled, the anxious cast members attribute the accident to "The Phantom," a mysterious figure said to live in the opera house. The Opera's new owners, Firmin and André, try to downplay the incident, but Carlotta refuses to continue and storms offstage, claiming that accidents like this have been happening for years without remedy. Madame Giry, the Opéra's ballet mistress, tells Firmin and André that Christine Daaé, a Swedish chorus girl and orphaned daughter of a prominent violinist, has been "well taught" and could sing Carlotta's role. With cancellation of the performance their only alternative, the owners reluctantly audition Christine, and to their surprise she is equal to the challenge ("Think of Me"). Christine performs in Carlotta's stead that evening, and the audience gives her an overwhelming approval.
Backstage after her triumphant début, Christine confesses to her best friend Meg (Madame Giry's daughter) that she knows her mysterious teacher only as an invisible "Angel of Music" ("Angel of Music"). The Opera's new patron, Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny, finds Christine, his old childhood playmate, in her dressing room. ("Little Lotte") Christine reminisces with Raoul about the "Angel of Music" stories that her late father used to tell them and confides that the Angel has visited her and taught her to sing. Raoul laughs at her "fantasies" and invites her to dinner. He exits and a jealous Phantom appears in Christine's mirror in the guise of The Angel of Music. ("The Mirror/Angel of Music (Reprise)") Christine begs him to reveal himself and The Phantom obliges, pulling her through the mirror-door and walking her to his underground realm. ("The Phantom of the Opera") They cross a subterranean lake to his secret lair beneath the opéra house. The Phantom explains that he has chosen Christine to sing his music and enchants her with his own sublime voice. ("The Music of the Night") Christine sees a mannequin resembling herself in a wedding dress, and when the mannequin suddenly moves, she faints. The Phantom picks her up and places her gently on a bed.
As the Phantom composes music at his organ, Christine awakens to the sound of the monkey music box. ("I Remember") She slips behind the Phantom, lifts his mask, and beholds his real face. The Phantom rails at her curiosity, then ruefully expresses his longing to look normal—and to be loved by her ("Stranger Than You Dreamt It"). Moved by pity, she returns his mask to him, and he agrees to return her to the outside world.
Meanwhile, inside the opéra house, Joseph Buquet, the Opéra's chief stagehand—who, like Madame Giry, inexplicably knows much about the Phantom—regales everyone with tales of the "Opéra Ghost" and his terrible Punjab lasso. ("Magical Lasso") Madame Giry warns Buquet to exercise restraint with sharing what he knows, lest he provoke the Phantom. In the managers' office, Madame Giry delivers a note from the Phantom: He demands that Christine replace Carlotta in the new opera, Il Muto, or there will be a terrible disaster "beyond imagination". ("Notes") Firmin and André assure an enraged Carlotta that she will remain the star, ("Prima Donna") but during her performance, ("Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh") the Phantom reduces her voice to a frog-like croak. The embarrassed Carlotta drops out of the performance, prompting the managers to replace her with Christine. A ballet interlude ensues to keep the audience entertained as Christine changes for the role—but a series of menacing shadows can be seen on the backdrop. Suddenly the corpse of Buquet, hanging from the Punjab lasso, drops from the rafters. Firmin and André plead for calm as the Phantom's diabolical laughter is heard.
In the ensuing mêlée, Christine escapes with Raoul to the roof, where she tells him about her subterranean rendezvous with the Phantom. Raoul is sceptical, ("Why Have You Brought Me Here?/Raoul, I've Been There") but swears to love and to protect her always, and Christine reciprocates his love. ("All I Ask of You") The Phantom, who has overheard their entire conversation, is heartbroken. He angrily vows revenge against Raoul ("All I Ask of You (Reprise)") and, in a fit of rage, sends the Opéra's mighty chandelier crashing to the stage as the curtain falls.
Six months later, in the midst of the gala masquerade ball, the Phantom, costumed as the Red Death, makes his first appearance since the chandelier disaster. ("Masquerade/Why So Silent?") He announces to the stunned guests that he has written an opera entitled Don Juan Triumphant. He demands that it be produced immediately, with Christine (who is now engaged to Raoul) in the lead role, and warns of dire consequences if it is not. He seizes Christine's engagement ring and vanishes in a flash of fire and smoke. Raoul demands that Madame Giry tell him about the Phantom. She reluctantly replies that he is a brilliant musician and magician born with a terrifyingly deformed face, who escaped from captivity in a travelling freak show and disappeared.
During rehearsals, Raoul hatches a plan to use Don Juan Triumphant as a trap to capture the Phantom, knowing the Phantom will be sure to attend its première. ("Notes/Twisted Every Way") Christine, torn between her love for Raoul and her gratitude for the Phantom's teaching, visits her father's grave, longing for his guidance. ("Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again") The Phantom appears, again under the guise of the Angel of Music. ("Wandering Child") Christine nearly falls under his spell, but Raoul arrives to rescue her. The Phantom taunts Raoul, launching fiery missiles at him, ("Bravo Monsieur") until Christine begs Raoul to leave with her. Furious, the Phantom sets fire to the cemetery.
Don Juan Triumphant opens with Christine and Ubaldo Piangi, the Opéra's principal tenor, singing the lead roles. ("Don Juan") During their duet, Christine realises that she is singing not with Piangi, but with the Phantom himself. ("The Point of No Return") When he expresses his love for her and gives her his ring, Christine rips off his mask, exposing his deformed face to the shocked audience. As Piangi is found strangled to death backstage, the Phantom seizes Christine and flees the theatre. An angry mob led by Meg searches the theatre for the Phantom, while Madame Giry directs Raoul to the Phantom's subterranean lair, and warns him to beware his Punjab lasso.
When Raoul arrives at the lair, Christine is wearing the mannequin's wedding dress. ("Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer") The Phantom ambushes Raoul and binds him with his lasso. He tells Christine that he will free Raoul if she agrees to stay with him forever; if she refuses, Raoul will die. ("Final Lair") Christine responds that it is the Phantom's soul that people fear, not his face, and kisses him. The Phantom, at last, understands that he cannot compel Christine to love him, and releases them both. Christine returns the Phantom's ring, bids him farewell, and exits with Raoul. The Phantom, weeping, huddles on his throne and covers himself with his cape. The mob storms the lair and Meg pulls away the cape—but the Phantom has vanished; only his mask remains.
The original casts of the major productions of The Phantom of the Opera:
† The role of Christine Daaé is double-cast in most professional productions. The secondary actress performs the role twice a week (on Broadway, Thursday evening and Saturday matinée).
‡ Three roles (The Phantom, Christine, and Carlotta) were double-cast in the original Las Vegas production, with the two actors in each pair singing alternate performances. Later, Las Vegas casting became identical to that in the Broadway production, with single casting for all characters except Christine.
Current casts of English-language productions
Notable West End replacements
Notable Broadway replacements
There are several orchestrations:
The current Broadway orchestration is what is licensed by R&H Theatricals for amateur and professional productions. The only difference between the 29- and 27-piece orchestras is the lack of Violins VII & VIII in the 27-piece orchestra.
The Broadway production originally used a 29-piece pit orchestra:
Percussion is split between two books - regular percussion and mallets
Cast recordings have been made of the London, Austrian, Dutch, German, Japanese, Swedish, Korean, Hungarian, Mexican, Polish, Russian and Canadian productions.
The recording of the 1986 original London cast, released by Polydor Records in 1987, was released in both a single CD Highlights From The Phantom of the Opera and a two CD Phantom of the Opera, both of which have been certified 4× Platinum in the US and sold 4.97 million copies as of January 2017. "The Complete Recordings" edition has sold 507,000 copies since 1991. Phantom was also certified 3× Platinum in the UK. The Canadian cast recording went 2× Platinum in Canada. In Switzerland, Phantom was certified 3× Platinum and Highlights was certified 2× Platinum. Recordings of the Vienna cast and the Hamburg cast were certified Gold and triple Platinum, respectively, in Germany. The original album recording has sold an alleged 24 million copies worldwide.
A live recording of The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall was released in the UK on 15 November 2011 and subsequently in the US and Canada on 7 February 2012, along with Blu-ray and DVD videos, and a collectors' box set of the Royal Albert concert, the original cast recording, and the sequel, Love Never Dies.
Allegations of plagiarism
In 1987 the heirs of Giacomo Puccini charged in a lawsuit that the climactic phrase in "Music of the Night" closely resembled a similar phrase in the sequence "Quello che tacete" from Puccini's opera Girl of the Golden West. The litigation was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
In 1990 a Baltimore songwriter named Ray Repp filed a lawsuit alleging that the title song from Phantom was based on a song that he wrote in 1978 called "Till You". After eight years of litigation – including an unsuccessful countersuit by Lloyd Webber claiming that "Till You" was itself a plagiarism of "Close Every Door" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat — the jury found in Lloyd Webber's favour.
Roger Waters has repeatedly claimed in interviews that the signature descending/ascending half-tone chord progression from Phantom's title song was plagiarised from the bass line of a track on the 1971 Pink Floyd album Meddle called "Echoes". He has never taken any legal action. "Life's too long to bother with suing Andrew fucking Lloyd Webber," he said. "I think that might make me really gloomy."
Phantom has been translated into several languages and produced in over 28 countries on six continents. With only the exception of Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Romania, and the 25th Anniversary UK and US Tours, these productions have all been "clones", using the original staging, direction, sets, and costume concepts. Notable international productions include the following:
Feature film version
A film version, directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Gerard Butler as the Phantom, Emmy Rossum as Christine, Patrick Wilson as Raoul, Minnie Driver as Carlotta, and Miranda Richardson as Madame Giry opened on 22 December 2004 in the US.
Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular
An edited production renamed Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular opened 24 June 2006 at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a theatre built specifically for the show to resemble the Opéra Garnier in Paris. The production ran 95 minutes with no intermission, and was directed and choreographed by Harold Prince and Gillian Lynne, with scenic designs by David Rockwell. The show featured updated technology and effects, including a re-engineered chandelier capable of reassembling in midair during the overture while the entire interior of the venue (not merely the stage) returned to its 1880s halcyon days. Almost 45 minutes' worth of material was eliminated, such as the Don Juan Triumphant rehearsal. "Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh" and "The Point of No Return" were significantly shortened. Other changes resembled those in the 2004 film, such as staging the chandelier crash at the plot's climax (during performance of "The Point of No Return") rather than mid-story. The Las Vegas production closed on 2 September 2012.
In 2011 The Really Useful Group (copyright owners of Phantom) released certain rights to the play in celebration of its 25th anniversary. In March 2011 Reed-Custer High School in Braidwood, Illinois became the first school to perform Phantom under the new rights. In 2012, the first school in the UK to perform the show was Blenheim High School, Epsom.
The sequel to Phantom, written by Lloyd Webber, Glenn Slater and Ben Elton with lyrics by Slater, is called Love Never Dies. It was loosely adapted from the 1999 novel The Phantom of Manhattan by Frederick Forsyth in collaboration with Lloyd Webber. Set in 1907 (a decade after the conclusion of Phantom according to the production's announcement, but actually 26 years later, as the original show was set in 1881), Christine is invited to perform at Phantasma, a new attraction at Coney Island, by an anonymous impresario. With her husband, Raoul, and son, Gustave, in tow she journeys to Brooklyn, unaware that it is the Phantom who has arranged her appearance at the popular beach resort.
The original production was directed by Jack O'Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell with set and costume designs by Bob Crowley, and opened at the Adelphi Theatre in the West End on 9 March 2010. Though it ran for over 17 months and closed on 27 August 2011, the production received mixed reviews. A scheduled Broadway opening in November 2010 was postponed until Spring 2011 and later cancelled. A revamped Australian production, starring Ben Lewis and Anna O'Byrne, opened 21 May 2011 at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne to more favourable notices. After the Melbourne run ended on 12 December 2011 the production moved to the Capitol Theatre in Sydney where it played from January to April 2012.
1Prologue: The Stage of the Paris Opéra - 1905
2Overture: Act One: Paris 1861
3The Phantom of the Opera: Act I “Think of Me” (Carlotta - Christine - Raoul)