The Phenomenal Phantom of the Opera
At some point, the “Masquerade” must end and “The Music of the Night” must play its final notes. After an incredible and record-breaking 35 years, The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway will play its last performance on April 16, 2023. To celebrate the longest-running musical on Broadway, we’re diving into some Phantom facts that even the most diehard “phan” might not know. Don’t forget to click here and get your tickets to see The Phantom of the Opera before it closes!
- Although the Phantom has no name in the musical, he’s called Erik in Gaston Leroux’s original novel.
- Howard McGillin, who starred in Phantom on Broadway for more than 10 years, holds the title of the world’s longest-running Phantom.
- In addition to the original, Michael Crawford, other actors to don the Phantom’s mask include Ben Crawford (no relation!) Mark Jacoby, Marcus Lovett, Davis Gaines, Thomas James O’Leary, Timothy Nolen, Chris Groenendaal, Steve Barton, Kevin Gray, John Cudia, Jeff Keller, Ted Keegan, Brad Little, Gary Mauer, and Hugh Panaro.
- Norm Lewis made history as Broadway’s first Black actor to play the Phantom in 2014.
- Ali Ewoldt became the first Asian-American to be cast in the role of Christine on Broadway in 2016.
- Emilie Kouatchou became the first Black actress to be cast in the role of Christine on Broadway in 2022.
- After Sarah Brightman, other actress to take on the role of Christine include Patti Cohenour, Dale Kristen, Rebecca Luker, Karen Culliver, Mary D’Arcy, Sandra Joseph, Julie Hanson, Rebecca Pitcher, Jennifer Hope Wills, Sierra Boggess, Rachel Zatcoff and Meghan Picerno.
The Majestic Theatre
- There are 150 trap doors in the production at the Majestic Theatre.
- The brown curtains within the side wall arches of the Majestic Theatre were added at the request of Phantom’s late Tony Award®-winning production designer Maria Björnson.
- The Majestic’s actual proscenium is completely masked by the production’s sculptural proscenium as well as black masking walls at the top of the structure. Only stage managers, the Phantom, and the crew can see the actual proscenium from the area where the Phantom gets into the angel that descends during the “All I Ask of You” reprise.
- There are 24 surround speakers placed throughout the Majestic Theatre, to give Phantom its ghostly atmosphere.
- The replica of the Paris Opera House chandelier features 6,000 beads and weighs one ton.
- It took four weeks and five people to build the original chandelier.
- In the rare event that the chandelier malfunctions, the cast is instructed to dramatically exit as they normally do.
- The Phantom of the Opera won seven 1988 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Director for the legendary Hal Prince, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress for Judy Kaye.
- Each performance requires the direct involvement of 125 cast, crew, orchestra members and house personnel.
- The “Masquerade” scene uses life-sized mannequins to make the party crowd seem larger.
- There are 230 costumes in the production, which must be constantly cleaned, repaired, refitted, and rebuilt.
- There are 111 wigs (made of human, yak and synthetic hair) used in Phantom.