This Saturday, January 26 2013, the Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera will celebrate its 25 anniversary. Not only is the production the longest running show in Broadway history, but Phantom is also the first production in American theater history to be consistently playing for 25 years.
Phantom’s creative team likes to say, “It’s the Broadway musical all others are measured against,” and they couldn’t be more correct. It was for a whole generation of thespians (including yours truly), the show that made them fall in love with Broadway. On Monday, I’ll be posting my tribute to Broadway’s most haunting love story, but for now I’m posting several videos to remind us how we fell in love with the music of the night.
The Overture and Raising of the Chandelier – For sooooo many phans, it was that heart-stopping overture and the raising of the chandelier which forever hooked us to the show. Below is a clip of both from the show’s 25th anniversary concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
In All Your Fantasies, You Always Knew – What made Phantom great was that the show could be terrifying one minute, and intensely romantic the next. Combined with the exquisite set design, and chemistry between lead actors Michael Crawford (Phantom) and Sarah Brightman (Christine), it’s easy to see why so many fell in love with the story of a disfigured composer and his muse. Here’s a clip from the 1988 Tony Awards with Crawford and Brightman. (Sorry for the bad quality, there was no HD in 1988.)
By The Numbers – This is a wonderful clip made by the producers to highlight the show’s success around the world. One of my favorite scenes is of a young and beautiful Princess Diana receiving a red rose from the Phantom.
A WORLDWIDE Phenomenon – A major part of Phantom’s success has been its ability to travel the world, literally. Early on, producer Cameron Mackintosh made the decision that the same show which played on Broadway, would also tour the world. This meant that the sets/costumes, special effects and orchestra would all be the same. The show would not be scaled down. At the time, this was a revolutionary concept for musical touring productions, and an expensive once. However, it is safe to say that the show’s investors made their money back.
Below is a great clip from the Chicago Tribune taking phans behind the scenes to see exactly how Phantom tours the world.
Behind the Mask – People tend to forget the struggle to launch Phantom. The show’s special effects, controversy behind the affair/casting of Lloyd Webber’s wife Sarah Brightman and unflattering coverage by the press almost doomed the musical before its London opening. In 2008, the BBC did a great hour long documentary called Behind the Mask about the show’s creative process. Below is part one, with all the other parts available on Youtube.
For tickets to Phantom and more information on the show, please visit: http://www.thephantomoftheopera.com/