The Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's record-breaking The Phantom of the Opera, which will play its final performance at the Majestic April 16, offered a charity performance April 14. See the curtain call from the momentous evening—including a special Christine Daaé reunion—above.
Produced as a thank you to the Broadway community for its 35-year embrace of the musical, all proceeds from the evening benefited four New York City Arts organizations that seek to build, support, and foster future diverse audiences and artists: Broadway Bridges, an initiative of The Broadway League; The American Theatre Wing’s Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative; The Prince Fellowship, in association with Columbia University School; and The Stephen Sondheim Foundation.
The evening culminated in a surprise curtain call with leading lady Emilie Kouatchou, joined by three former Broadway Christines: Sierra Boggess (25th anniversary), Ali Ewoldt (30th anniversary), and the original “Angel of Music,” Sarah Brightman.
The women announced that the evening had raised $645,000 for the four NYC arts organizations and that several unique Phantom items are currently being auctioned to benefit those organizations. Items include dozens of costume pieces used in the Broadway production, and a print of Maria’s Björnson’s original sketch of Brightman’s original “Rooftop” costume, autographed by Brightman. Click here for more information.
Check out the special Playbill cover for the benefit performance below:
Additional details about the four organizations:
- Broadway Bridges, an initiative of The Broadway League, helps guarantee that future Broadway audiences, performers, and behind-the-scenes personnel will reflect the diversity of New York City. The program gives public high school students the opportunity to attend Broadway shows: Since 2017, nearly 7,000 students across all five boroughs have attended Phantom.
- The American Theatre Wing’s Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, an extension of the composer’s work in the U.K. to promote and fund arts education for students and young people, the program provides classroom grants to create or enhance theatre programs in the nation’s under-resourced schools, scholarships for afterschool and summer training programs, and tuition support for students pursuing theatre in higher education.
- The Prince Fellowship, in association with Columbia University School of the Arts, honors the legacy, career, and memory of late Phantom director Harold Prince. The goal is to support the development of emerging theatrical producers by exposing new talent to the producing process in a manner that supports creative involvement.
- The Stephen Sondheim Foundation, established by late composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim in his will, supports playwrights, composers, and lyricists for the theatre in the early stages of their careers and assists in the development and advancement of their careers.
The special Phantom April 14 benefit Playbill can be purchased at the Playbill Store here.
Producer Cameron Mackintosh said in an earlier statement, “Phantom's farewell to Broadway has proved more thrilling and celebratory than Andrew and I could ever have hoped for. As a thank you to New York and the Broadway community that has so embraced our success, we have chosen four wonderful organizations to benefit from a charity performance during our last week, on April 14, proceeds from which will be specifically aimed at the support and nurturing of new talent, both on and off the stage. With nearly all remaining tickets sold, this will be your last chance to get tickets to see this legendary production in its original splendor, and at the same time support youth and diverse talents in the theatre for future generations.”
Lloyd Webber added, “Through the work of my Foundation in the U.K. and U.S., I know that engagement in the arts changes lives. The Phantom of the Opera’s time on Broadway certainly changed my life, and it has had a huge impact on the lives of the millions of people who have worked with us or come to see the show over the years. I am thrilled that we end The Phantom of the Opera’s record-breaking run on Broadway by giving something back to our beloved Broadway and to its young, talented people who, I know, will be future stars of this stage, of Broadway and of our whole industry. Thank you, Broadway and thank you, New York.”
Robert E. Wankel, Chairman and CEO of The Shubert Organization stated, “The Phantom of the Opera has been the entry point to Broadway for countless young people over the years. In that spirit of welcoming, through this charitable event, we’re delighted to support Broadway Bridges and its goal of having every New York City public school student attend a Broadway show at least once in their school years. We’re proud to have been Phantom's home for over 35 years and couldn’t ask for better partners than Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber.”
The New York production currently stars Ben Crawford as The Phantom, Emilie Kouatchou as Christine, John Riddle as Raoul, Nehal Joshi as Monsieur André, Craig Bennett as Monsieur Firmin, Raquel Suarez Groen as Carlotta Giudicelli, Maree Johnson as Madame Giry, Carlton Moe as Ubaldo Piangi, and Sara Esty as Meg Giry. At certain performances, Julia Udine plays the role of Christine.
The ensemble features Giselle O. Alvarez, Polly Baird, Janinah Burnett, Xiaoxiao Cao, Kanisha Marie Feliciano, David Michael Garry, Chris Georgetti, Kelly Jeanne Grant, Satomi Hofmann, Ayaka Kamei, Ted Keegan, Kfir, Kelly Loughran, Scott Mikita, Greg Mills, Trista Moldovan, Justin Peck, Richard Poole, Lindsay Roberts, Janet Saia, Paul Adam Schaefer, Carly Blake Sebouhian, Jeremy Stolle, Carrington Vilmont, Jim Weitzer, Elizabeth Welch, and Erica Wong.