'The Phantom of the Opera': Would you still swing from a chandelier for Broadway's longest-running show?

phantom_operaImage Credit: Joan MarcusAs we waited for the new Broadway season to start in earnest, we decided to check out the five longest running shows on the Great White Way to see how they hold up after all this time. First up: the granddaddy of them all, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, which is now in its 23rd year at the Majestic Theatre (it opened back in 1988, two years before Entertainment Weekly started publishing). The musical has played 9,387 performances on Broadway (and counting) and grossed more than $5 billion worldwide in all of its incarnations here and abroad.

The surprise for me was how just how well Phantom still plays on a Broadway stage. (You can check out my full review here.) True, the once jaw-dropping scenic design (and that famed falling crystal chandelier) now seems rather passé. But as fans of Phantom know, the look of the show is but a small reason for its enduring appeal. More important are the story — the romantic love triangle of the up-and-coming soprano Christine, her childhood friend and opera patron Raoul, and the mysterious, mayhem-causing man behind the mask — as well as the lush musical score of Andrew Lloyd Webber at his most Puccini-by-way-of-heavy metal bombastic. The current production is not without its weak patches, but on the whole it’s still worth the Broadway imprimatur (and the Broadway ticket prices). Has anyone else been drawn to listen to Phantom‘s “music of the night” lately, on Broadway or elsewhere?

Tomorrow: I check out the razzle-dazzle of Chicago.

Comments (35 total) Add your comment
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  • Madd

    I’d totally go again. I’m not ashamed to love it.

  • a person

    I have not seen the play but i really want too because the movie is amazing!!! :)

    • Mellissa

      The play is a million times better. While Emmy Rossum is an amazing Christine, especially given her age at time of filming (16 and 17), Gerard Butler is laughable as the Phantom. By that I mean, I laughed as soon as he started singing.

    • kim in kentucky

      Actually, if you see the play – you’ll realize that the movie is actually quite bad (just my opinion of course!)

  • Molly M M

    I was not fully impressed with the show when I saw it in London in 2003, but there was an understudy playing Christine that evening, so that could explain things. (Not to mention that I’d just been blown away by Les Mis, unexpectedly.) I’d love to see it again.

  • Briana

    I have a friend who saw it a few years ago. All of my friends love Phantom! Of course, most of us love it because our former director is doing the show this spring at our old high school.

  • yo

    never did, never will, and that chick looks like she has a slice of pizza on her chest.

    • Jacob

      The phantom has a thing for girls made of pizza.

      • hullabaloo


  • paige

    i try to see it once every couple of years. it really does hold up very well. which is a giant feat considering its over 20 years old!

  • jane

    I’ve seen it every time it has been to the Fox in Atlanta and once on Broadway. It is still the most amazing show! And when a great Phantom sings Music of the Night I still cry…. Nothing beats ALW musicals!

  • Lady Pirate

    I would so see it again. Very little can beat Phantom. Wicked and Les Mis come in close seconds.

  • Danielle

    I just saw it on its last day in Cleveland, and I’m going to see it in a few weeks in Pittsburgh. I think it holds up rather well, and I hope I’m not alone in wishing she ended up with the Phantom at the end, even if he is a crazy murderer.

  • Sarah C

    I’ve seen it five times and counting. My all-time favorite; never gets old.

  • msshoe

    I would see this show again on any day of the week. I LOVE IT! I’m just bummed I never had a chance to see the original cast of Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. Just listening to their cast recording gives me chills.

    • Michael

      are they multiplying?

  • beth

    saw it once in toronto and once here in pittsburgh but would love to see it on broadway. would definitely see it again.

  • mamma mia

    I have seen it once on Broadway and four or five Broadway productions that have played in Dallas. I have loved it each time; I would see it again.

  • Glo

    I would rather be beaten with bats in an alley than go to see this show again. It is painful. The only great song was not written by ALW.

  • Kristine

    I would see this every single day if I could. I’m a Phantom nut. Have been for decades. I bawled when I saw it on Broadway. So amazing.

    • Melissa

      You’re a Phan. ;)

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