|Phantom of the Opera is more than just a musical - it’s a pop culture classic. Originally a novel written by French author Gaston Leroux in 1911, the story has been adapted into several movies and plays. In 1984, famous musical theater composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who was aiming to write a romantic piece at the time, proposed turning the book into a musical production. The rest, as they say, is history.
A tragic romance
The musical takes place in The Paris Opera House, where a young ingenue named Christine Daaé is cast as a lead in an opera, after a falling backdrop in the theater causes the previous lead to refuse to perform. Christine’s voice is stunning during her performance, and afterward she confesses to a friend in the chorus line that she’s been taught to sing by a phantom man known only as the “Angel of Music.”
After discovering that one of her childhood friends, Raoul, is a new patron of the opera, Christine tells him of her mysterious teacher as well. After Raoul leaves, the “Angel of Music” appears and brings Christine into his eerie home underneath the opera house. He is the Phantom of the Opera - a man who was forced into hiding because of a deformity on his face.
Eventually Christine must make a choice between the dark and dangerous Phantom and the heroic Raoul, for a love story that’s as dramatic as it is heartbreaking.
The characters tell their stories through songs like “Angel of Music,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Music of the Night,” and “The Point of No Return.” Lloyd Webber’s score, which is at times operatic, is haunting, emotional and spectacular.
A legendary theatrical hit
Between the compelling story, stunningly memorable score and talented original cast, “The Phantom of the Opera” became an instant hit after its London debut at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 1986. With Sarah Brightman as Christine and Michael Crawford in the titular role, the show’s incredible performances, beautiful music and powerful special effects made it a one-of-a-kind theater experience.
The musical opened on Broadway in 1988, and since then, it has been performed thousands of times - there have been more than 11,000 performances in Her Majesty’s Theatre alone. “Phantom” is now performed in multiple countries worldwide and is known for being one of the longest-running shows of all time. It’s also one of the most financially successful entertainment events ever, due to its immense popularity.
In fact, more than 130 million people worldwide have had the privilege of seeing “The Phantom of the Opera” on stage. The show is still playing in London, New York City and various other cities across the globe, which means there are always new opportunities to experience the production firsthand.
“The Phantom of the Opera” is a musical theater experience like none other, with a romantic story, beautiful score and heart-wrenching performances that can’t be beat.