The iconic theatre show The Phantom of The Opera celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this week, yet despite its 30-year run at the West End, it still remains a firm theatre favourite in the hearts of many. On Monday night, producer Cameron Mackintosh and Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber took to the stage of London’s Her Majesty’s Theatre with many of the show’s original cast, including the legendary Michael Crawford to celebrate.
The timeless West End musical has been seen by over 140 million people and in celebration of this momentous anniversary, SuperBreak have put together their top 30 fun and surprising facts about one of the most tragically romantic theatre shows of all time.
1) First opened in 1986
Phantom first opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London on 27th September, 1986, and at the Majestic Theatre in New York on 9th January, 1988.
2) Third-longest-running musical on London’s West End
Preceded by The Mousetrap and Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera has been playing on the West End for 30 years.
3) Longest-running musical on New York’s Broadway
Phantom occupies top spot on Broadway, followed by Chicago, The Lion king and Cats.
4) Seen by over 140 million people
Phantom has been seen by millions of people in 35 countries and 164 cities.
5) Winner of over 70 major theatre awards
Phantom has scooped up over 70 awards, including 3 Olivier Awards, an Evening Standard Award, 7 Tony Awards including Best Musical, 7 Drama Desk Awards and 5 Outer Critic Circle Awards.
6) A multilingual masterpiece
A worldwide theatre hit, the show has been translated into 15 different languages!
7) High-grossing theatre show
The show has achieved an estimated worldwide gross of almost £5 billion.
8) Higher grossing than Titanic!
The box office revenues surpass that of any any film or stage play, including Titanic and Avatar.
9) Over 12,000 performances
And that’s only at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London alone!
10) Original Cast Members…
The original West End cast members were Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman/Claire Moore.
11) Chart-topping success
The original cast of Phantom released an album in 1987 which was the first album in British musical history to reach the #1 spot, and it sold over 40 million copies worldwide.
12) Making the headlines
In 1986 Phantom made the headlines in The Times as “God’s Gift to Musical Theatre”.
13) Film Success
The successful musical was made into a film in 2004 and was directed by Joel Schumacher.
14) Total Cast Members
There are 130 cast, crew and orchestra members who take part in each performance.
15) Costume Count
Each Phantom performance has 230 costumes.
16) Smoke and Ice
250kg of dry ice and 10 fog machines are used in every performance.
17) Phantom Chandelier
The iconic chandelier which features in the show took four weeks and five people to build it.
18) The Phantom’s eyes
The Phantom wears one blue and one clouded contact lens for each performance.
19) Make-up magic
Previously it took 4 hours to apply all of the Phantom’s make-up, but now it takes approximately 2 hours.
20) Masquerade Scene
The famous Masquerade scene in the musical uses life-sized mannequins to make it seem like there are more people in the party crowd.
21) Trap Doors
The Majestic Theatre where Phantom of the Opera is performed, houses 150 trap doors!
22) It started with a book
Gaston Leroux published The Phantom of the Opera in 1911 and it is upon which the dramatic theatre production is based.
23) Chandelier Replica
The replica of the Paris Opera House chandelier features 6,000 beads and weighs a whopping 1 ton!
24) So many Candles
Each performance sees the use of 281 candles.
25) First Night Nerves
Back when the show first premiered on the West End in 1986, Andrew Lloyd Webber did not attend the performance as he was reportedly too nervous. He had to be brought back to the theatre for the curtain call.
26) Famous Film Cast
Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum starred as the leading roles in the 2004 film version of Phantom.
27) Phantom Parodies
The Simpsons and South Park, amongst others, have all parodied this famous musical masterpiece.
28) UK Tour
The Phantom of The Opera did its first UK tour in 2012.
29) Worldwide Applause
The show has been played in the following countries: England, United States of America, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Eire, Austria, Sweden, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Scotland, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Wales, Estonia, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Philippines, China, Taiwan, Czech Republic, Thailand, Turkey and Finland.
30) Love Never Dies
A sequel to the famous Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies is a romantic musical also produced by
Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Have you seen The Phantom of the Opera? Tell us about your favourite scene it in the comment box below!