As it approaches performance No. 6,000, Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera has finally been made available at the Theatre Development Fund's TKTS discount-tickets booth located in Duffy Square, on the north side of Times Square.
The Cameron Mackintosh production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber smash had avoided "the booth" until now, which has been good news for competing shows that do appear at the walk-up, cash-only counter, popular with tourists and those who cannot afford $95 for a show. Phantom tickets were made available at a 25 percent discount June 5, the first time an such an offer was made there since the show opened at the Majestic Theatre in 1988. The show appeared at the booth again June 6. A spokesman for the show said that a decision about continuing the offer will be made by the company on a day-to day basis.
It was thought that a Phantom discount might lure people away from the discounted Les Miserables tickets, but the intermittent nature of the Phantom offer and the 25 percent stipulation will probably keep folks attracted to the consistent 50-percent-discounted Les Miz tickets.
Phantom became the fourth longest-running Broadway musical May 9, when it played performance No. 5,960, surpassing the 5,959-show run of Oh, Calcutta! Howard McGillin is currently starring in the title role of the smash production, written by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and directed by Harold Prince. The Cameron Mackintosh/Really Useful Theatre Company, Inc. produces.
The transporting musical, filled with some of Prince's most indelible stage pictures, is billed as the most successful musical of all time, with worldwide ticket sales exceeding $3 billion. The winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, the New York production has been seen by over 9 million people.
Worldwide, The Phantom of the Opera consistently plays to larger audiences and in longer engagements than any other musical in history, according to the producers.
Still ahead of The Phantom of the Opera in Broadway performance count are A Chorus Line (No. 3 with 6,137 performances, which Phantom will surpass in fall 2002), Les Misérables (No. 2 and still running with 6,257 performances as of May 9) and Cats (No. 1 with 7,485 performances).
Based on the novel by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera tells of the deformed, masked musical genius who coaches and falls in love with a young soprano, Christine.
The score, rich with opera pastiche, soaring ballads and love songs that have been adopted by lovers for wedding ceremonies ("All I Ask of You" is a favorite), the score includes "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," "The Music of the Night," "Think of Me," "Masquerade," "The Phantom of the Opera," "The Point of No Return" and more.
McGillin (Anything Goes, The Mystery of Edwin Drood) is the longest-running Phantom in the history of the Broadway production. Michael Crawford originated the role in London and New York. The current cast also includes Lisa Vroman as Christine and Michael Shawn Lewis as Raoul. The musical also co-stars Jeff Keller, George Lee Andrews, Rebecca Eichenberger, Marilyn Caskey, Larry Wayne Morbitt and Joelle Gates. At certain performances, Adrienne McEwan plays Christine.
The Phantom of the Opera had its world premiere on October 9, 1986 at Her Majesty's Theatre in London, winning every major British theatre award including the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards. The New York production opened on Jan. 26, 1988 with a then-record advance of $18 million. The musical went on to sweep the 1988 Tony Awards, winning seven, including Best Musical.
Lyrics are by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe) and the book is by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Designers are Maria Björnson (scenic and costumes), Andrew Bridge (lighting) and Martin Levan (sound). Musical staging and choreography is by Gillian Lynne. Orchestrations are by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The performance schedule for The Phantom of the Opera is 8 PM Monday-Saturday, 2 PM Wednesday and Saturday. For ticket information, call (212) 239-6200 or (800) 432-7250 or visit the Majestic Theatre box office (247 West 44th Street).