30 Years of Phantom – by Alex Woody


(photo credit: Her Majesty’s Theatre)

On October 2nd 1986, Phantom of the Opera officially opened at the Her Majesty’s Theatre in the heart of London’s West End theatre district. It opened to a 10 minute standing ovation and massive critical acclaim. Today, both the original London and original New York productions remain open. The sets, costumes, lighting, and sound is just the same as it was nearly thirty years ago. Seeing it on West End last night, it’s honestly incredibly. It’s just as revolutionary and massive as it was in the 80s, because the production value remains one of the most massive in theatre globally.

(photo credit: Andrew Lloyd-Webber)

With a reported 110 million individual people in the world having seen Phantom of the Opera, it’s amazing to hear how it started. Writer Andrew Lloyd-Webber had very low hopes for the show given the two million pound cost to put on the production. At the time, Webber had casted his then-wife Sarah Brightman to play the lead, but had no casted a Phantom. To create buzz for the show, he released the title track from the show with a rock musician in place of the Phantom, the song proved to be a hit and subsequently more songs were released. By the time the show opened, tickets were sold out nine months in advance.

(photo credit: Playbill.com)

This was my second time seeing Phantom, and being able to see it in its original entity was astounding because it absolutely is just as captivating as people make it out to be. Looking at the box office revenues, it looks like Phantom might be a show that continues to live on for another thirty years.

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