The longest-running show in Broadway history, the Cameron Mackintosh/Really Useful Group, Inc. production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, directed by Harold Prince, reached an unprecedented milestone on January 26, 2011, when it celebrated its Twenty-Third Anniversary on Broadway. Playing its 9,566th & 9,567th performances at The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street), it becomes the first Broadway production ever to have run 23 years. Broadway Beat was there for the occasion and brings you coverage below.
Since becoming the longest-running show in Broadway history in January 2006 (when it surpassed the then-record run of Cats), every performance has set a new longevity record. Incredibly, since that milestone, the production has played an additional 5 years and over 2,000 performances - which by itself would be a healthy run for a hit Broadway musical. Its longevity is unprecedented and PHANTOM remains miles ahead of all competition. The long-closed Cats remains a distant second, having run just shy of 18 years. The closest currently-running show is the revival of Chicago, which reached 14 years in November 2010.
On Broadway, since its debut on January 26, 1988, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has grossed nearly $800 million, making it the highest-grossing show in Broadway history. Total attendance is 14 million. Its international success - equally staggering - is represented by total worldwide grosses estimated at over $5 billion. This colossal figure makes PHANTOM the most successful entertainment venture of all time, surpassing not only any other stage production, but also far surpassing the world's highest-grossing film Avatar (at $2.7 billion). Worldwide, over 65,000 performances have been seen by 100 million people in 27 countries and 144 cities.
The show has always been a record-breaker, with the New York production setting benchmarks that have dominated the industry: for capitalization (a then-spectacular $8 million), total advance (a then-colossal $18 million), total gross and attendance (now a whopping $800 million and 14 million, and counting) and even the number of years before a single ticket was ever sold at the TKTS ticket booth in Times Square (over 14 years, which is still the record, by a long shot). Earlier this month, the production shattered the house record at The Majestic by having its best weekly gross in its entire 23-year history. For the week ending January 2, 2011, the production grossed a phenomenal $1,390,530.53 for 8 performances.
PHANTOM was also the first and remains the only show in Broadway history to play milestone performances 8,000 and 9,000 (surpassing 9,500 in November 2010) and celebrate its 18th through 22nd Anniversaries. It now continues its long tradition of shattering records as it becomes the first show to reach 23 Years. The Broadway production is the winner of 7 Tony Awards including Best Musical.
There are currently six productions around the world: London, New York, Budapest (Hungary), Nagoya (Japan), Seoul (Korea) and a revised production in Las Vegas at The Venetian. The original cast-recording, with over 40 million copies sold worldwide, is the best-selling cast recording of all time. Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical Love Never Dies, which continues the PHANTom Story, opened in London on March 9, 2010.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA stars Hugh Panaro in the title role with Sara Jean Ford as Christine and Sean MacLaughlin as Raoul. The musical also co-stars George Lee Andrews (Monsieur Andre),David Cryer (Monsieur Firmin), Liz McCartney (Carlotta), Cristin J. Hubbard (Madame Giry), Evan Harrington (Piangi) and Heather McFadden (Meg Giry). At certain performances, Marni Raab plays Christine. Mr. Andrews has been with the production for its entire run and in 2006 was recognized by Guinness World Records as the inaugural record-holder for the performer with the longest time in the same Broadway show - a record he still holds and continues to add to with each performance.