“Phantom of the Opera” became the longest-running show on Broadway five years ago when it surpassed “Cats” (also by Andrew Lloyd Webber) and shows no sign of slowing down. It broke box office records earlier this month at its long-time home on the rialto, the Majestic Theater, and the Jan. 27 performance marked the beginning of its 24th year. Hugh Panaro has the title role while Sara Jean Ford is his would-be love interest Christine and Sean MacLaughlin plays his rival Raoul.
“Phantom” opened on Jan. 26, 1988 to mixed reviews, but still went on to win seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Lloyd Webber has bankrolled a theatrical empire with the profits from various productions. The titled tunesmith tried his hand at a sequel to the show seveal seasons back in the West End. However, “Love Never Dies” has failed to find a life beyond London.
The new show tells the tale of the phantom a decade on, with the action shifted from glamorous Paris to garish Coney Island. The book and lyrics are by Glenn Slater who worked on new material for the stage version of “The Little Mermaid.” It has been reworked several times and there is still talk of it crossing the pond.