The Phantom of the Opera

Definition

Theater

  • A musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by CharlesHart; Lloyd Webber wrote the book with Richard Stilgoe, who also contributedadditional lyrics. First performed in London in 1986 at Her Majesty'sTheatre, it was still running there in 2010, having notched up over 9500performances. The show received the Laurence Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical of 1986 and a year later repeated its success in New York, where it went on to become the longest-running Broadwaymusical of all-time (still going strong in 2010). It has now been seen by over 100 million people worldwide, grossing around £3.5 billion.

    The plot, based on Gaston Leroux's gothic novel, tells ofa disfigured and deranged composer who haunts the labyrinth beneaththe Paris Opéra. Lloyd Webber's version downplays the originalhorror story in favour of the romance between the masked Phantom andthe opera singer Christine (played in the original version by LloydWebber's then wife, Sarah Brightman). The musical's initial success owedmuch to a bravura performance by Michael Crawford as the Phantom.

    The songs include 'The Point of No Return', 'The Music ofthe Night', and 'Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again'.

    Love Never Dies, Lloyd Webber's long-awaited sequel to Phantom, made its debut at the Adelphi Theatre in 2010, almost 25 years after the opening of its predecessor. This long development time was caused mainly by problems with the book, but exacerbated by an incident in which Lloyd Webber's cat apparently managed to delete the entire score from his computer. In the story, which is set ten years after the events at the Opera, the Phantom has become the impresario of 'Phantasma, City of Wonders' an attraction at the Coney Island fairground, where he contrives a reunion with Christine. Although there was some praise for the innovative staging, many critics found the show unexciting, concurring with the theatrical blogger who dubbed it "Paint Never Dries".

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