Monday, February 13, 2012

NIght Unfurls Its Splendor at a Matinee: 'The Phantom of the Opera' Celebrates 10,000 Performances

The Limited Edition Commemorative Playbill.
Click HERE to purchase from

When 'The Phantom of the Opera' opened in January 1988, few would have predicted that Andrew Lloyd Webber's lavish musical would be celebrating 10,000 performances and on the road to reaching a full quarter century on Broadway. On February 11, 2011 at the 2pm matinee the show just did the former and is guaranteed to do the latter in 2013. revealed the extent of the celebrations at this milestone performance. But Patrick Healy of the New York Times put the event into perspective:
  • The production cost $8 million and has grossed over $845 million just on Broadway.
  • The musical has come to define modern Broadway by proving the purchasing power of women and tourists, the durability of repeat business and the lure of the spectacle.
  • Thanks to persistent marketing, strict quality control and flexibility in ticket pricing, 'Phantom' has thrived where shows with bigger stars and better reviews brought down the curtains.
  • In December 2011, the show earned more in a single week, $1,579,428, than in any of the 1,256 weeks since the musical reached New York.
  • One pair of investors decided to put $500,000 into 'Phantom' in 1987 and have gone on to earn about $12 million through Broadway and national tours.
  • More than 40 percent of 'Phantom' patrons have seen it at least once before, and a majority of the 'Phantom' audiences in 2011 saw no other Broadway show that year; about 68 percent were women, and nearly 60 percent were tourists.
  • On Broadway only 30 percent of shows ever turn a profit.
  • The show's weekly operating cost have been tightened over the years to about $600,000, modest for any musical and low for one with such elaborate sets and costumes.
  • The show turned a profit almost every week in 2011.
  • The musical benefited considerably from the multimillion advertising budget for the 2004 film adaptation.
  • 'Phantom' did its best yearly business in 2011, grossing $44.8 million.
Click HERE to read the complete article on For me this show will always be one that propelled my interest in the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and live theatre. Though I had to make do at first with purchasing the vinyl two-record set and a copy of a libretto, it would be at least a couple of years before I actually experienced a live production of the show in Los Angeles in 1990. But I have seen the musical at least a dozen times more since and I see no reason why I shouldn't see it again.


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