The Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera
celebrates its 20th anniversary at the Majestic Theatre Jan. 26, reaching a milestone that would have been unthinkable to the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Rodgers & Hammerstein.
Billed as "the most successful stage musical of all time," the Cameron Mackintosh/Really Useful Group, Inc. production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera
, directed by Harold Prince, will reach performance No. 8,318 (matinee) and 8,319 (evening). It is the first Broadway production ever to run 20 years.
Needless to say, as previously reported, Phantom
is the longest-running show in Broadway history.
Babies born in 1988, when the show opened on Broadway following its 1986 West End world premiere, are old enough now to be auditioning for a chorus part in the Broadway show (or for its current long-running national tour or the 90-minute spin-off Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular
The cast will celebrate the milestone at a private party thrown by the producers after the evening show.
On Sunday, Jan. 27, the day after the anniversary, the musical will be featured in a segment on the national edition of NBC's "Weekend Today." During the 9 AM (ET) hour, the segment will profile five Phantom
company members who have been with the show all 20 years: cast member George Lee Andrews ("Monsieur André: — the only cast member to have been with the Broadway production for its entire run), usher Sylvia Bailey (an 82 year-old former dancer at The Roxy Theatre in New York in the 1940s), flyman Jack Farmer, make-up supervisor Thelma Pollard and stage doorman Wally Carroll.
The producers report that Phantom
has grossed over $675 million, making it the highest-grossing show in Broadway history. New York attendance has been 12.5 million, with many repeat customers. The show is a major tourist destination for playgoers who wish to enter a sumptuous theatrical never-land created by Prince and his designers. It took 14 years before the show's tickets were released at the half-price TKTS ticket booths in Manhattan. The Phantom of the Opera
won seven 1988 Tony Awards including Best Musical.
Its international grosses are estimated at over $5 billion. The current North American tour is the longest-running touring production in U.S. history, having recently celebrated its 15th anniversary on Dec. 13, 2007, and having played over 6,000 performances.