Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical Continues as Longest Running Show
On January 9, 1988, The Phantom of the Opera began Broadway previews at the Majestic Theatre, ahead of its official opening night on January 26, 2018. It had had its world premiere two years prior in Webber’s native England, commencing in the West End on September 27, 1986 at Her Majesty’s Theatre, where it is also still running to this day. As the test of time has proven, Phantom is a majestic show indeed, as it continues running both at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, and the Majestic Theatre in New York. On Broadway, The Phantom of the Opera is currently the longest running show of all time, presently counting 12,486 regular performances (on top of the 16 previews). This is leagues beyond the runner-up, the presently running 1997 revival of Chicago, which presently counts 8,811 performances, followed by The Lion King at 8,413 performances, the original production of Cats at 7,485 performances, the 1987 production of Les Misérables at 6,680 performances, and the original production of A Chorus Line at 6,137 performances. Though several of these have since shuttered, The Phantom of the Opera continues on strong. The present cast includes Ali Ewoldt as Christine Daaé, Peter Jöback as the Phantom of the Opera, Rodney Ingram as Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, and Raquel Eskenazi-Gold as Carlotta Guidicelli. The continually rotating cast performs the original production directed by Harold Prince, with choreography by Gillian Lynne, in a production by Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s own Really Useful Group.
On January 24, 2018, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s international hit celebrated its 30 year anniversary on Broadway with a special gala performance, scheduled two days before the 30th anniversary of the original opening night. This special performance began earlier than usual, kicking off a 6:00pm with red carpet hosted by Sierra Boggess, who has formerly played Christine, as well as the Vice President of The Musical Company Imogen Lloyd Webber. Among the interviews and guests was Imogen’s first ever public interview with her father, Andrew Lloyd Webber. The performance then began at 6:30pm, and was followed by a special post-show presentation, featuring more special guests. Culminating the evening was a private gala reception at the Rainbow Room. To further celebrate, New York City came on board to light up the Empire State Building at 11pm that night, with a custom designed light show by lighting designer Marc Brickman, synchronized to a special arrangement of songs from the musical. The celebration then continued on the actual anniversary, January 26, 2018, when current leads Jöback and Ewoldt performed during the 10:00am hour of NBC’s Today show. Furthermore, a special 2:00pm matinee took place that day, though it was a Friday, to accompany the 8:00pm performance. Such a celebration was indeed warranted for this groundbreaking show now entering its fourth decade of performances. Over the course of the run, The Phantom of the Opera has grossed over $1.1 billion and played to audiences of over 18 million people on Broadway alone.
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