On Saturday 23rd October, the cast of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA celebrated the show's 10,000th performance in the West End. The audience at today's matinee performance were treated to a special appearance from Andrew Lloyd Webber during the curtain call. Andrew said a few words thanking the audience for their support over the last 10,000 performances before introducing the original Phantom, Michael Crawford. Michael's appearance was accompanied by the familiar strains of The Music of the Night. Andrew and Michael were then presented with a cake to celebrate the landmark performance. Crawford will next be see starring as 'The Wizard' in Andrew Lloyd Webber's upcoming THE WIZARD OF OZ.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA became the longest-running show in Broadway history on January 9, 2006, when it played performance #7486, surpassing the record run of Cats. Incredibly, since breaking that record, the production has played both an additional 4½ years and an additional 1,900 performances. During this time, it's also become the first and only show in Broadway history to play milestone performances 8,000 and 9,000 and celebrate its 18th through 22nd Anniversaries.
In addition to its longevity records, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is also the most successful stage musical of all time, with worldwide grosses to date estimated in excess of $5 billion (far surpassing the highest-grossing film of all time, Avatar, which has grossed $2.7 billion worldwide). The winner of 7 1988 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, the New York production has played over 9,300 performances, been seen by nearly 14 million people and grossed over $780 million.
Worldwide, over 65,000 performances have been seen by 100 million people in 27 countries and 144 cities. There are currently seven productions around the world: London, New York, Budapest (Hungary), Nagoya (Japan), Seoul (Korea), the U.S. National Tour (which concludes its record-breaking run in November 2010) 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.
Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L'Opéra by Gaston Leroux, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is directed by Harold Prince. Lyrics are by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe) and the book is byRichard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has production design by the late Maria Björnson, lighting by Andrew Bridge and sound design by Mick Potter with original sound by Martin Levan. Musical staging and choreography is by Gillian Lynne. Orchestrations are by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Photos by Dave M. Benett / Getty Images Entertainment