The Phantom of the Opera (1986 musical)

The Phantom of the Opera is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart. Richard Stilgoe and Lloyd Webber wrote the musical's book together. Stilgoe also provided additional lyrics.[1] Based on the French novel of the same name by Gaston Leroux, its central plot revolves around a beautiful soprano, Christine Daaé, who becomes the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius living in the subterranean labyrinth beneath the Paris Opéra House.[2]

The Phantom of the Opera
MusicAndrew Lloyd Webber
BasisThe Phantom of the Opera
by Gaston Leroux
Premiere9 October 1986: Her Majesty's Theatre, London
See list

The musical opened in London's West End at Her Majesty's Theatre in 1986, and on Broadway in 1988. It won the 1986 Olivier Award and the 1988 Tony Award for Best Musical, and Michael Crawford (in the title role) won the Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical.[3] It is the longest running show in Broadway history by a wide margin, and celebrated its 10,000th Broadway performance on 11 February 2012, the first production ever to do so.[4] It is the second longest-running West End musical, after Les Misérables, and the third longest-running West End show overall, after The Mousetrap.[5][6][7]

With total estimated worldwide gross receipts of over $5.6 billion and total Broadway gross of $845 million,[8] Phantom was the most financially successful entertainment event until The Lion King surpassed it in 2014.[9][10][11] By 2011, it had been seen by over 130 million people in 145 cities across 27 countries, and continues to play in London and New York.[9]



In 1984, Lloyd Webber contacted Cameron Mackintosh, the co-producer of Cats and Song and Dance, to propose a new musical. He was aiming for a romantic piece, and suggested Gaston Leroux's book The Phantom of the Opera as a basis. They screened both the 1925 Lon Chaney and the 1943 Claude Rains motion picture versions, but neither saw any effective way to make the leap from film to stage. Later, in New York, Lloyd Webber found a second-hand copy of the original, long-out-of-print Leroux novel, which supplied the necessary inspiration to develop a musical: "I was actually writing something else at the time, and I realised that the reason I was hung up was because I was trying to write a major romantic story, and I had been trying to do that ever since I started my career. Then with the Phantom, it was there!"[12]


Lloyd Webber first approached Jim Steinman to write the lyrics because of his "dark obsessive side", but he declined in order to fulfill his commitments on a Bonnie Tyler album.[13] Alan Jay Lerner was then recruited, but he became seriously ill after joining the project and was forced to withdraw; none of his contributions (mostly involving the song "Masquerade") are credited in the show.[14][15] Richard Stilgoe, the lyricist for Starlight Express, wrote most of the original lyrics for the production. Charles Hart, a young and then-relatively unknown lyricist, later rewrote many of the lyrics, along with original lyrics for "Think of Me". Some of Stilgoe's original contributions are still present in the final version, however.[16]


Inspired in part by an earlier musical version of the same story by Ken Hill,[17] Lloyd Webber's score is sometimes operatic in style but maintains the form and structure of a musical throughout. The full-fledged operatic passages are reserved principally for subsidiary characters such as Andre and Firmin, Carlotta, and Piangi. They are also used to provide the content of the fictional operas that are taking place within the show itself, viz., Hannibal, Il Muto, and the Phantom's masterwork, Don Juan Triumphant. As critic Michael Coveney wrote, "Here, Lloyd Webber pastiched various styles from the grand operas of Meyerbeer through to Mozart and even Gilbert and Sullivan."[18] These pieces are often presented as musical fragments, interrupted by dialogue or action sequences in order to clearly define the musical's "show within a show" format.

The musical extracts from the Phantom's opera, "Don Juan Triumphant", heard during the latter stages of the show, are dissonant and modern—"suggesting, perhaps," wrote John Snelson in a book on Lloyd Webber's work, "that the Phantom is ahead of his time artistically".[19][20]

Design, direction, and choreography

Maria Björnson designed the sets and over 200 costumes, including the elaborate gowns in the "Masquerade" sequence. Her set designs, including the chandelier, subterranean gondola, and sweeping staircase, earned her multiple awards.[21][22] Hal Prince, director of Cabaret, Candide, Follies, and Lloyd Webber's Evita, directed the production, while Gillian Lynne, associate director and choreographer of Cats, provided the integral musical staging and choreography.

West End and Broadway

First preview at Sydmonton

A preview of the first act was staged at Sydmonton (Andrew Lloyd Webber) (Lloyd Webber's home) in 1985, starring Colm Wilkinson (later the star of the Toronto production) as the Phantom, Sarah Brightman as Kristin (later Christine), and Clive Carter (later a member of the London cast) as Raoul. This very preliminary production used Richard Stilgoe's original unaltered lyrics, and many songs sported names that were later changed, such as "What Has Time Done to Me" ("Think of Me"), and "Papers" ("Notes"). The Phantom's original mask covered the entire face and remained in place throughout the performance, obscuring the actor's vision and muffling his voice. Maria Björnson designed the now-iconic half-mask to replace it, and the unmasking sequence was added.[16] Clips of this preview performance were included on the DVD of the 2004 film production.[23]

West End

Phantom began previews at Her Majesty's Theatre in London's West End on 27 September 1986 under the direction of Hal Prince, then opened on 9 October.[24] It was choreographed by Gillian Lynne and the sets were designed by Maria Björnson, with lighting by Andrew Bridge.[25] Michael Crawford starred in the title role with Sarah Brightman as Christine and Steve Barton as Raoul. The production, still playing at Her Majesty's, celebrated its 10,000th performance on 23 October 2010, with Lloyd Webber and the original Phantom, Michael Crawford, in attendance. It is the second longest-running musical in West End (and world) history behind Les Misérables, and third overall behind The Mousetrap.[26][27]

A 25th-anniversary stage performance was held in London on 1 and 2 October 2011 at the Royal Albert Hall and was screened live in cinemas worldwide.[28] The production was produced by Cameron Mackintosh, directed by Laurence Connor, musical staging & choreography by Gillian Lynne, set design by Matt Kinley, costume design by Maria Björnson, lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe, and sound design by Mick Potter. The cast included Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom, Sierra Boggess as Christine, Hadley Fraser as Raoul, Wynne Evans as Piangi, Wendy Ferguson as Carlotta, Barry James as Monsieur Firmin, Gareth Snook as Monsieur Andre, Liz Robertson as Madame Giry, and Daisy Maywood as Meg Giry. Lloyd Webber and several original cast members, including Crawford and Brightman, were in attendance. A DVD and Blu-ray of the performance was released in February 2012,[29] and it began airing in March 2012 on PBS's "Great Performances" television series.[28]

In March 2012, a new production directed by Laurence Connor began a UK and Ireland tour to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the show, beginning at the Theatre Royal Plymouth and travelled to Manchester, Bristol, Dublin, Leeds, Edinburgh, Milton Keynes, Cardiff, and Southampton. John Owen-Jones, later Earl Carpenter, played the Phantom, with Katie Hall and Olivia Brereton as Christine and Simon Bailey as Raoul.[30]

The 30th anniversary was on 10 October 2016 with a special appearance of the original cast during the curtain call.[24]


Phantom began Broadway previews at the Majestic Theatre on 9 January 1988 and opened on 26 January. Lloyd Webber had hoped to open in Toronto prior to Broadway, but political pressure forced the change.[31] Crawford, Brightman, and Barton reprised their respective roles from the West End. The production continues to play at the Majestic, where it became the first Broadway musical in history to surpass 10,000 performances on 11 February 2012.[32] On 26 January 2013, the production celebrated its 25th anniversary with its 10,400th performance.[33] It is, by over 3,500 performances, the longest-running show in Broadway history. The 30th anniversary was in January 26, 2018 with special activities and an extra performance during the week.[34] By April 2019, Phantom had been staged over 13,000 times.[35]

Critical reviews were mostly positive on opening. The New York Times' Frank Rich writes: "It may be possible to have a terrible time at The Phantom of the Opera, but you'll have to work at it. Only a terminal prig would let the avalanche of pre-opening publicity poison his enjoyment of this show, which usually wants nothing more than to shower the audience with fantasy and fun, and which often succeeds, at any price."[36] Howard Kissel from New York Daily News commended the production, calling it "a spectacular entertainment, visually the most impressive of the British musicals", and praised Lloyd Webber's score despite its "synthetic, borrowed quality" as well as Michael Crawford's "powerful" performance.[37] Maria Björnson's set and costume design in particular garnered critical acclaim, with reviewers calling it "a breathtaking, witty, sensual tribute to 19th century theater" as well as "marvels of period atmospheric detail and technical savvy".[38][39]



In 1911 Paris, the Paris Opéra hosts an auction of old theatrical props.[40] Among the attendees is the Vicomte Raoul de Chagny, who purchases a papier-mâché music box and eyes it sadly, remarking how the details are "exactly as she said."[41][42] The auctioneer presents the next item for bid, "lot 666", "a chandelier in pieces", alluding to a connection with "the Phantom of the Opera". As the porters remove the drop cloth covering the fixture, it flickers to life and ascends to the ceiling as the auditorium's former grandeur is restored ("Overture").

Act I

It is now 1881[43] and the cast of a new production, Hannibal, are rehearsing onstage when they learn that new owners, Firmin and André, are taking over the Paris Opéra House ("Hannibal Rehearsal"). Carlotta, the Opéra's resident soprano prima donna, begins to perform an aria for the new managers when a backdrop inexplicably falls from the flies, barely missing her and prompting anxious chorus girls to whisper, "He's here! The Phantom of the Opera!". The managers try to downplay the incident, but Carlotta angrily insists that such things have been happening for "three years" and she storms out, quitting the show. Madame Giry, the Opéra's ballet mistress, informs Firmin and André that Christine Daaé, a chorus girl and orphaned daughter of a prominent violinist, has been "well taught" and can sing Carlotta's role. With cancellation of the sold-out show being their only other alternative, the managers reluctantly audition her and are surprised to discover that she is indeed talented. As Christine sings the aria during the evening performance, the Opéra's new patron, Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny, recognises her as his childhood friend and playmate ("Think of Me").

Backstage after her triumphant début, Christine confesses to her friend Meg (Madame Giry's daughter) that she knows her mysterious teacher only as an invisible "Angel of Music" ("Angel of Music"). Raoul pays a visit to Christine's dressing room and the two reminisce about the "Angel of Music" stories that her late father used to tell them. Christine confides that the Angel has visited her and taught her to sing ("Little Lotte"). Raoul indulges what he assumes are fantasies and insists on taking Christine to dinner. When Raoul leaves to fetch his hat, Christine hears the jealous Phantom's voice and entreats him to reveal himself. The Phantom obliges by appearing as a ghostly, partially masked face in her mirror ("The Mirror/Angel of Music (Reprise)"). Believing him to be the Angel of Music sent by her deceased father, Christine is irresistibly drawn through the mirror to the Phantom, who leads her down into the cellars of the Opéra house. The two then board a small boat and cross a subterranean lake to his secret lair ("The Phantom of the Opera"). The Phantom explains that he has chosen Christine to sing his music and serenades her. When he reveals a mirror that reflects an image of her in a wedding dress, the figure in the mirror gestures to Christine and she faints from shock. The Phantom then covers her tenderly with his cloak and puts her on a bed ("The Music of the Night").

As the Phantom is composing music at his organ, Christine awakens to the sound of the monkey music box ("I Remember"). Overcome with curiosity, she slips behind the Phantom, lifts his mask, and beholds his grotesquely disfigured face. The Phantom rails at her prying gesture and Christine runs in fear. He then ruefully expresses his longing to be loved ("Stranger Than You Dreamt It"). Moved by pity, Christine returns the mask to the Phantom and he escorts her back above ground.

Meanwhile, Joseph Buquet, the Opéra's chief stagehand, regales the chorus girls with tales of the "Opéra Ghost" and his terrible Punjab lasso. Madame Giry arrives and warns Buquet to exercise restraint or face the Phantom's wrath ("Magical Lasso"). In the managers' office, André and Firman read notes from the Phantom and are interrupted by Raoul, who accuses them of sending him a note saying that he should make no attempt to see Christine again. Carlotta and Piangi then burst in, demanding to know who sent Carlotta a note warning that her "days at the Opéra Populaire are numbered." As André and Firmin try to calm Carlotta, Madame Giry delivers another note from the Phantom: he demands that Christine replace Carlotta as the Countess in the new opera, Il Muto, and that Box 5 be kept empty for him. The managers are warned they will face a "disaster beyond imagination" if these demands are not met ("Notes"). Firmin and André assure the furious Carlotta that she will remain their star and Christine will play the Pageboy, a silent role ("Prima Donna").

The première of Il Muto initially goes well, until the voice of the Phantom suddenly cuts through the performance, enraged that Box 5 was not kept empty for him as he had directed. As Christine whispers that she knows the Phantom is near, Carlotta reminds her that her role is silent, calling her a "little toad". The Phantom states that it is Carlotta who is the toad and reduces the diva's voice to a frog-like croak. Firmin rushes to defuse the situation by announcing to the audience that Christine will take over the starring role, and he instructs the conductor to bring the ballet forward to keep the audience entertained. Suddenly, the corpse of Joseph Buquet drops from the rafters, hanging from the Punjab lasso. Firmin and André plead for calm as mayhem erupts and the Phantom's diabolical laughter is heard throughout the auditorium ("Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh").

In the ensuing chaos, Christine escapes with Raoul to the roof and tells him about her subterranean encounter with the Phantom ("Why Have You Brought Me Here?/Raoul, I've Been There"). Raoul is skeptical but promises to love and protect her, and Christine reciprocates his vow ("All I Ask of You"). Christine and Raoul go back inside, unaware that the Phantom has overheard their entire conversation. The heartbroken Phantom angrily vows revenge before returning to the auditorium and bringing down the chandelier during the curtain call ("All I Ask of You (Reprise)").

Act Il

Six months later, during a masquerade ball, the Phantom appears in costume as the Red Death. He announces that he has written an opera entitled Don Juan Triumphant and demands that it be produced with Christine (who is now secretly engaged to Raoul) in the lead role, and he warns of dire consequences if his demands are not met. Noticing an engagement ring on a chain around Christine's neck, the Phantom angrily pulls it from her and vanishes in a blinding flash of light ("Masquerade/Why So Silent").

As the masquerade attendees scatter in fear, Raoul accosts Madame Giry and demands that she reveal what she knows about the Phantom. Giry reluctantly explains that the Phantom is actually a brilliant scholar, magician, architect, inventor, and composer who was born with a terrifyingly deformed face and was ostracized for it. Feared and reviled by society, he was cruelly exhibited in a cage as part of a traveling fair until he eventually escaped and disappeared. He subsequently took refuge beneath the opera house, which has now become his home.

Before rehearsals, Raoul plots to use the première of Don Juan Triumphant as a trap to capture the Phantom and put an end to his reign of terror. Carlotta falsely accuses Christine of being the mastermind, suggesting that it is all a ploy to make her the star. Christine angrily defends herself, explaining that she is his victim just like everyone else. Raoul, knowing of the Phantom's obsession with his fiancée, asserts that the Phantom will attend the opera's première and begs a reluctant Christine to help lure the Phantom into the trap, but she refuses ("Notes/Twisted Every Way"). During rehearsal, Piangi is unable to sing his part in the new opera, causing frustration and chaos for everyone. The piano suddenly begins to play the piece by itself (having been possessed by the Phantom) and the entire company immediately sings the proper notes in unison.

Torn between her love for Raoul and her awe of the Phantom, Christine visits her father's grave, longing for his guidance ("Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again"). The Phantom appears atop the mausoleum, again under the guise of the Angel of Music ("Wandering Child"). The weary Christine begins to succumb to the Phantom's influence, but Raoul arrives to rescue her. The Phantom taunts Raoul, hurling fire balls at him until Christine begs Raoul to leave with her. Furious, the Phantom declares war upon them both and causes flames to spring up around the mausoleum ("Bravo Monsieur").

With armed policemen having secured the auditorium and watching for the Phantom, Don Juan Triumphant premieres with Christine and Piangi singing the lead roles. During Don Juan's and Aminta's duet, Christine comes to the sudden realization that the Phantom has somehow replaced Piangi ("Don Juan Triumphant/The Point of No Return"). Mimicking Raoul's vow of devotion on the rooftop, the Phantom once again expresses his love for Christine and forces his ring onto her finger. Christine rips off his mask, showing his horrifically deformed face to the shocked audience. Exposed, the Phantom hurriedly drags Christine off the stage and back to his lair. Piangi's garroted body is revealed backstage and the opera house plunges into chaos. An angry mob, vowing vengeance for the murders of Buquet and Piangi, search for the Phantom. Madame Giry tells Raoul how to find the Phantom's subterranean lair and warns him to beware the magical lasso. ("Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer").

Down in the lair, the Phantom has compelled Christine to don a wedding dress. In a moment of epiphany, she explains that she is not fearful of his physical appearance, but rather his inner nature. Raoul reaches the lair and attempts to persuade the Phantom to spare Christine and begs him for compassion. The Phantom retorts that the world had never shown him any and ensnares Raoul in the Punjab lasso. The Phantom offers Christine an ultimatum: if she will stay with him, he will spare Raoul, but if she refuses, Raoul will die ("The Point of No Return Reprise"). As the Phantom and Raoul both vie for Christine, she sadly asks the Phantom what life he has been forced to live. Finally, she tells the Phantom that he is not alone and kisses him, showing him compassion for the first time in his life.

Having experienced kindness at last, the Phantom realizes that he cannot win Christine by force and sets them both free. Raoul hurries Christine out of the lair, but she returns alone to give the Phantom back his ring. The Phantom once again pledges his love to her as she tearfully exits the lair to rejoin Raoul. As the angry search mob closes in, the devastated Phantom huddles on his throne beneath his cloak. Meg is first to reach the lair and finds no one there. She approaches the throne with curiosity and quickly pulls away the Phantom's cloak, but finds only his mask. She lifts the mask up into the light and gazes at it in wonder as the curtain falls ("Finale").[44]


Original casts

The original casts of the major productions of The Phantom of the Opera:[45][46]

Character Original West End Cast Original Broadway Cast Original U.S. Tour Cast[47] Original Australian Cast Original Las Vegas Cast Royal Albert Hall 25th Anniversary Cast[48] 2004 Movie 2019 World Tour Cast
The Phantom of the Opera Michael Crawford Anthony Warlow Brent Barrett
Anthony Crivello
Ramin Karimloo Gerard Butler Jonathan Roxmouth
Christine Daaé Sarah Brightman
Claire Moore
Sarah Brightman
Patti Cohenour
Dale Kristien
Mary D'Arcy†
Marina Prior Sierra Boggess
Elizabeth Loyacano‡
Sierra Boggess Emmy Rossum Meghan Picerno
Clara Verdier†
Raoul de Chagny Steve Barton Reece Holland Dale Burridge Tim Martin Gleason Hadley Fraser Patrick Wilson Matt Leisy
Carlotta Giudicelli Rosemary Ashe Judy Kaye Leigh Munro Christa Leahmann Elena Jeanne Batman
Geena Jeffries Mattox‡
Wendy Ferguson Minnie Driver Beverly Chiat
Monsieur Gilles André David Firth Cris Groenendaal Norman Large John O'May John Leslie Wolfe Gareth Snook Simon Callow Curt Olds
Monsieur Richard Firmin John Savident Nicholas Wyman Calvin Remsberg Jon Ewing Lawson Skala Barry James Ciarán Hinds James Borthwick
Madame Giry Mary Millar Leila Martin Barbara Lang Geraldene Morrow Rebecca Spencer Liz Robertson Miranda Richardson Melina Kalomas
Ubaldo Piangi John Aron David Romano Gualtiero Negrini Christopher Dawes Larry Wayne Morbitt Wynne Evans Victor McGuire Thabiso Masemene
Meg Giry Janet Devenish Elisa Heinsohn Elisabeth Stringer Sharon Millerchip Brianne Kelly Morgan Daisy Maywood Jennifer Ellison Kiruma-Lind Devar

† The role of Christine Daaé is double-cast in most professional productions. The secondary actress performs the role twice a week (on Broadway, Thursday evening and Saturday matinée).[49]

‡ Three roles (The Phantom, Christine, and Carlotta) were double-cast in the original Las Vegas production, with the two actors in each pair singing alternate performances.[50] Later, Las Vegas casting became identical to that in the Broadway production, with single casting for all characters except Christine.[51]

Notable West End replacements

Notable Broadway replacements

Musical numbers

  • Overture – Orchestra


There are several orchestrations:

  • 27 piece orchestra (original score used in London),[52]
  • 29 piece orchestra (original Broadway score),
  • 27 piece orchestra (current Broadway score),[52]
  • 14 piece orchestra (Reduced score for tour),
  • 45 piece orchestra (25th Anniversary score)

The original London score is as the Broadway score but with only one percussion part and 7 violins. The current Broadway orchestration is what is licensed by R&H Theatricals for amateur and professional productions. The only difference between the Broadway 29- and 27-piece orchestras is the lack of Violins VII & VIII in the 27-piece orchestra.

The Broadway production originally used a 29-piece pit orchestra:[53]

  • Reed I: Flute/Piccolo
  • Reed II: Flute/Clarinet
  • Reed III: Oboe/English Horn
  • Reed IV: B-flat Clarinet/Bass Clarinet/E-flat Clarinet
  • Reed V: Bassoon
  • French Horns I–III
  • Trumpets I–II
  • Trombone
  • Percussion I-II (see below)
  • Keyboards I–II: Piano, Synthesizer
  • Violins I-VIII (currently only six violins)
  • Violas I–II
  • Cellos I–II
  • String Bass
  • Harp

Percussion is split between two books – regular percussion and mallets

  • 2 Timpani, Suspended cymbals, Crash Cymbals, Snare drum, Triangle, Tambourine, Bass Drum
  • Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Vibes, Marimba, Tubular Bells, Bell Tree, Woodblock, Gong, Guiro, Finger Cymbals


Cast recordings have been made of the London,[54] Austrian,[55] Dutch, German, Japanese, Swedish, Korean, Hungarian, Mexican, Polish, Russian and Canadian productions.[56]

The recording of the 1986 original London cast, released by Polydor Records in 1987, was released in both a single-CD Highlights From The Phantom of the Opera and a two-CD Phantom of the Opera, both of which have been certified 4× Platinum in the US and sold 4.97 million copies as of January 2017. "The Complete Recordings" edition has sold 507,000 copies since 1991.[57][58] Phantom was also certified 3× Platinum in the UK.[59] The Canadian cast recording went 2× Platinum in Canada.[60] In Switzerland, Phantom was certified 3× Platinum and Highlights was certified 2× Platinum.[61] Recordings of the Vienna cast and the Hamburg cast produced by Jimmy Bowien were certified Gold and triple Platinum, respectively, in Germany.[62] The original album recording has sold an alleged 24 million copies worldwide.[63]

A live recording of The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall was released in the UK on 15 November 2011 and subsequently in the US and Canada on 7 February 2012,[64] along with Blu-ray and DVD videos, and a collectors' box set of the Royal Albert concert, the original cast recording, and the sequel, Love Never Dies.[64][65]

Sales and certifications

Original 1986 London production

Region CertificationCertified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[66] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[67] 2× Platinum 200,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[68] 12× Platinum 180,000^
Poland (ZPAV)[69] Gold 50,000*
Sweden (GLF)[70] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[71] 3× Platinum 900,000^
United States (RIAA)[72] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Local productions

Region CertificationCertified units/sales
Austria (IFPI Austria)[73] Platinum 50,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[74] 8× Platinum 800,000^
Germany (BVMI)[75] 3× Platinum 1,500,000^
Germany (BVMI)[76] Gold 250,000^
Sweden (GLF)[77] Gold 50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[78] 3× Platinum 150,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Highlights From The Phantom of the Opera

Region CertificationCertified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[79] 8× Platinum 800,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[80] 2× Platinum 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[81] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Allegations of plagiarism

In 1987 the heirs of Giacomo Puccini charged in a lawsuit that a recurring two-bar passage in "Music of the Night" closely resembled a similar phrase first heard in the aria "Quello che tacete" from Puccini's opera La fanciulla del West.[20][82][83] The litigation was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.[84][85]

In 1990 a Baltimore songwriter named Ray Repp filed a lawsuit alleging that the title song from Phantom was based on a song that he wrote in 1978 called "Till You".[86] After eight years of litigation – including an unsuccessful countersuit by Lloyd Webber claiming that "Till You" was itself a plagiarism of "Close Every Door" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat[87] – the jury found in Lloyd Webber's favour.[88]

Former Pink Floyd vocalist and bassist Roger Waters has claimed that the signature descending/ascending half-tone chord progression from Phantom's title song was plagiarised from the bass line of a track on the 1971 Pink Floyd album Meddle called "Echoes". He avoided taking legal action, saying, "Life's too long to bother with suing Andrew fucking Lloyd Webber."[89]

Other productions

Phantom has been translated into several languages and produced in over 28 countries on 6 continents. With only the exception of Norway, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Romania, and the 25th Anniversary UK and US Tours, these productions have all been "clones", using the original staging, direction, sets, and costume concepts.[90][91] Notable international productions include the following:

  • Argentina: The show ran from March to November 2009 in Buenos Aires at the Teatro Opera.[92]
  • Australia: 1990–1998: Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth; 2007–2009: Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Auckland, Perth and Adelaide, both starring Anthony Warlow. Brian Stacey was the original conductor of the first Australian production.[93] Marina Prior starred as Christine in the original production. In the original Australian production, Rob Guest later took over the title role.[94] The final leg of the recent tour was staged in Adelaide in an arena format featuring giant screens on either side of the stage that presented footage shot simultaneously with the performance. 2013: Canberra starring Michael Cormick as The Phantom and with Julie Lea Goodwin starring as Christine from 9 to 23 August 2013. Goodwin had previously played the role, as the "Alternate Christine", in the 2007 to 2009 national tour.[95]
  • Austria: The German language production premiered at the Theater an der Wien in December 1988.[96]
  • Brazil: The first Brazilian production premiered in São Paulo on April 2005 and closed in April 2007. The revival began August 1, 2018 in São Paulo at the Teatro Renault.[97]
  • Canada: The Canadian production of Phantom ran from 20 September 1989 to 31 October 1999 in Toronto at the Pantages Theatre, with Colm Wilkinson originating the role of Phantom. The Canadian International Touring Company toured the musical in Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, Hong Kong, and Singapore from 11 March 1991 to October 1995. The Music Box Tour (Third US National Tour) played dates across Canada in 2006–2007 including Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Saskatoon and Ottawa.[98]
  • China: The Shanghai production played 97 performances at the Shanghai Grand Theatre. The World Tour had their sixth season at the Culture Plaza Theatre at Shanghai Culture Square from 3 December 2013 to 26 January 2014.[99] The World Tour returned to China at the Guangzhou Opera House in Guangzhou from 26 September to 10 October 2015[100] and performed its final season at the Tianqiao Performing Arts Center in Beijing from 17 November 2015 to 10 January 2016.[101]
  • Czech Republic: The GoJA Music Hall Theater in Prague had a non-replica production, beginning September 2014.[102] The revival began in September 2018 and a planned finish in June 2019.[103]
  • Denmark: First production was in Copenhagen in 2000 and the second ran from January to May 2009.[104] The third began September 2018, also in Copenhagen.[105]
  • Estonia: Production in Estonian language (but with English and Finnish subtitles) featuring original sets, costumes, and direction premiered on 4 October 2014 at Theatre Vanemuine in Tartu. In first season 2014/2015 there were 24 performances in total, eight of which took place in capital Tallinn at Nordea Concert Hall (premiered there on 30 October 2014). In spring 2017 there will be further 12 performances (two of which in Tallinn).[91]
  • Finland: A Finnish production premiered in Helsinki in 2015 at the Finnish National Opera in English.[106] The revival began in November 2018.[107]
  • Germany: "Das Phantom der Oper" opened at the Stage Neue Flora Theatre, Hamburg from 1990 to 2001, the Palladium Theatre in Stuttgart from 2002 to 2004, and at the Colosseum Theatre in Essen from 2005 to 2007. A second Hamburg production ran from December 2013 until September 2015 at the Stage Theatre Neue Flora. A production in Oberhausen is currently running at the Metronom Theater from 17 November 2015.[108]
  • Hungary: Madách Theatre, Budapest. This production, which began in 2003, was the first to modify the original staging with new sets, costumes and direction. The five hundredth performance on 20 September 2007 featured four successive sets of casts.[90]
  • Japan: The Japanese production opened in Tokyo in 1988.[109]
  • Mexico: The show had its Mexican premiere on December 16, 1999, in Spanish in Mexico City.[110]
  • Netherlands: A production in Scheveningen began in August 1993 and closed in August 1996 with Henk Poort as the title role.[111]
  • New Zealand: Opened at the Aotea Centre in Auckland in 1997 and at The Civic, The Edge-Auckland in 2008. A local production (with new designs)[112] opened on 13 June at the St. James Theatre in Wellington[113] and closed on 16 July 2013.
  • Norway: A non-replica production opened for the first time in Oslo in September 2018.[114]
  • Panama: For the first time in Central America, "El Fantasma de la Opera" played in Spanish at the Teatro Anayansi of the Atlapa Convention Center from 23 to 25 September 2016, directed by Aaron Zebede. Randy Dominguez starred in the role of The Phantom, with Maria Fernanda Achurra as Christine and Leo Almengor as Raoul.[115]
  • Poland: The Polish production opened at the Roma Theater in Warsaw on March 2008 and closed in June 2010.[116]
  • Romania: The Romanian premiere was in January 2015 produced by the Romanian National Opereta. This new non-replica production was performed in Romanian with a local cast led by a British creative team.[117]
  • Russia: Moscow production co-produced by Stage Entertainment and Really Useful Group premiered on 4 October 2014 in the MDM theatre starring Ivan Ozhogin and Dmitry Yermak as The Phantom. The stalls and the stage were modernised specially for the production. The premiere was attended by Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart.[118][119]
  • Serbia: The Serbian premiere was in October 2017 produced by Belgrade-based Terazije Theatre. Production is performed in Serbian with a local cast.[120]
  • Singapore: First tour at the Kallang Theatre from 26 February 1995 to 20 May 1995, second tour at the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay from 23 March 2007 to 20 May 2007.[121]
  • South Korea: Two productions in Korean; first in December 2001 and the second on 2009. The World Tour had two shows in Seoul in 2005 and December 2012.[122]
  • Spain: The Spanish production opened in Madrid on 4 September 2002 and closed on 30 June 2004.[123]
  • Sweden: First production premiered in Stockholm 1989 and the second one in September 2016 [124]
  • Turkey: The World Tour played in Istanbul at the Zorlu Center PSM from 7 April to 17 May 2015.[125]
  • Thailand: World Tour production opened in Bangkok on 7 May 2013 and closed on 9 June 2013 at Muangthai Rachadalai Theatre.[126]
  • United States: Los Angeles (1989–1993), San Francisco (1993–1999). A US National tour commenced in 1992 in Seattle and closed on 31 October 2010 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California, after nearly two decades. The closing night performance was attended by many former cast and crew members, including Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sarah Brightman.[127]
  • World Tour: The Phantom of the Opera embarked on a World Tour in February 2019, featuring Jonathan Roxmouth as the Phantom, Meghan Picerno as Christine, and Matt Leisy as Raoul.[128] The tour began in Manila at the Theatre at Solaire on 20 February 2019 and closed its Manila leg on 6 April 2019.[129] The cast is also set to perform in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tel Aviv, and Dubai for the succeeding legs of the tour in 2019.[130][131][132][133]

Film adaptation

A film adaptation, directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Gerard Butler as the Phantom, Emmy Rossum as Christine, Patrick Wilson as Raoul, Minnie Driver as Carlotta, and Miranda Richardson as Madame Giry, opened on 22 December 2004 in the US.[134]

Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular

An edited production renamed Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular opened 24 June 2006 at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a theatre built specifically for the show to resemble the Opéra Garnier in Paris.[135] The production ran 95 minutes with no intermission, and was directed and choreographed by Harold Prince and Gillian Lynne, with scenic designs by David Rockwell. The show featured updated technology and effects, including a re-engineered chandelier capable of reassembling in midair during the overture while the entire interior of the venue (not merely the stage) returned to its 1880s halcyon days.[50] Almost 45 minutes' worth of material was eliminated, such as the Don Juan Triumphant rehearsal. "Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh" and "The Point of No Return" were significantly shortened.[50] Other changes resembled those in the 2004 film, such as staging the chandelier crash at the plot's climax (during performance of "The Point of No Return") rather than mid-story.[51][136] The Las Vegas production closed on 2 September 2012.

In 2011 The Really Useful Group (copyright owners of Phantom) released certain rights to the play in celebration of its 25th anniversary. In March 2011 Reed-Custer High School in Braidwood, Illinois, became the first school to perform Phantom under the new rights.[137] Later in 2011, Stanwell School in Penarth became the first school in the UK to perform the show.[138]

Awards and nominations

Original London production

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1986 Evening Standard Theatre Award[139] Best Musical Won
Laurence Olivier Award[140][141][142][143] Best New Musical Won
Best Actor in a Musical Michael Crawford Won
Designer of the Year Maria Björnson Nominated
2002 Most Popular Show Won
2016 Magic Radio Audience Award Won

Original Broadway production

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1988 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Michael Crawford Won
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Sarah Brightman Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Harold Prince Won
Outstanding Music Andrew Lloyd Webber Won
Outstanding Orchestrations David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber Won
Outstanding Set Design Maria Björnson Won
Outstanding Costume Design Won
Outstanding Lighting Design Andrew Bridge Won
Tony Award[144] Best Musical Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Michael Crawford Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Judy Kaye Won
Best Direction of a Musical Harold Prince Won
Best Book of a Musical Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber Nominated
Best Original Score Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe Nominated
Best Scenic Design Maria Björnson Won
Best Costume Design Won
Best Lighting Design Andrew Bridge Won
Best Choreography Gillian Lynne Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award[145] Best Broadway Musical Won
Best Actor in a Musical Michael Crawford Won
Best Set Design Maria Björnson Won
Best Costume Design Won
Best Lighting Design Andrew Bridge Won


The sequel to Phantom, written by Lloyd Webber, Ben Elton, Frederick Forsyth and Glenn Slater, is called Love Never Dies.[146] It was loosely adapted from the 1999 novel The Phantom of Manhattan, by Forsyth. Set in 1907 (a decade after the conclusion of Phantom according to the production's announcement,[147] but actually 26 years later, as the original show was set in 1881[43]), Christine is invited to perform at Phantasma, a new attraction at Coney Island, by an anonymous impresario. With her husband Raoul and son Gustave in tow, she journeys to Brooklyn, unaware that it is the Phantom who has arranged her appearance at the popular beach resort.[147][148]

The original production was directed by Jack O'Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell with set and costume designs by Bob Crowley,[146] and opened at the Adelphi Theatre in the West End on 9 March 2010. Though it ran for over 17 months and closed on 27 August 2011, the production received mixed reviews.[149][150][151] A scheduled Broadway opening in November 2010 was postponed until Spring 2011[152] and later cancelled.[153] A revamped Australian production, starring Ben Lewis and Anna O'Byrne, opened 21 May 2011 at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne to more favourable notices.[154][155][156][157] After the Melbourne run ended on 12 December 2011 the production moved to the Capitol Theatre in Sydney where it played from January to April 2012.[158][159]

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Preceded by
Longest-running Broadway show
Succeeded by
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