If you’re a first time theatergoer asking a veteran what show you should lose your Broadway virginity too, chances are the answer will be Phantom of the Opera. The musical’s New York production, which originally premiered on Broadway in 1988, recently celebrated its 10,000th performance. This milestone comes only months after another important landmark in Phantom history – the 25th anniversary of the show’s London premiere in 1986.
The show has seen a lot of turnover – there have been quite a few Phantom’s and Christine’s since Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman (who, at the time of the premiere, was married to the show’s composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber).
Unlike the monumental 25th anniversary last October, which was celebrated with four sell-out performances at the Royal Albert Hall in London, complete with a cast handpicked by Andrew Lloyd Webber, followed by a party for the West End elite, things were kept a little quieter stateside. They celebrated with a special curtain call following the performance as well as a cake for the cast and crew (and let’s face it, when you bring cake into the equation, things get infinitely more appealing).
Even 24 years after the show’s Broadway premiere, it continues to be making bank. 2011 was the show’s most successful year to date (financially. In terms of having high profile patrons, most of the celebrities stopped going after the show’s freshness wore off), making $11.5 million last year alone. In total, the show has brought in over $800 million. Lloyd Webber can thank Phantom for never having to work again a day in his life.