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PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (article first published : 2003-09-24)

Based on the classic novel Le Fantome de l’Opera by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom Of The Opera tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.

Phantom of the Opera opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London on October 9, 1986, with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman in the leading roles, directed by Harold Prince and produced by Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Company. Since its premiere there have been 16 productions of The Phantom of the Opera which have played in 111 cities in 13 countries worldwide.

The West End production is now in its 16th year having just played its 7,000th performance and The Phantom of the Opera is currently playing in New York, Madrid, Stuttgart, Japan and Denmark.

Now the third longest-running show in Broadway history – behind only Les Miserables (#2) and Cats (#1) – the New York production has been seen by over 9.5 million people. Worldwide, however, Phantom of the Opera has been seen by over 100 million people.

Awards include seven Tony Awards, seven Drama Desk Awards, three Outer Critics’ Circle awards and the Laurence Olivier and Evening Standard awards for Best Musical. The Phantom of the Opera’s box office revenues are over $3.2 billion, higher than any film or stage play in history – including blockbusters like Titanic, ET and Star Wars.

The South African production will go into rehearsal in February 2004 to open at Artscape Opera House in Cape Town in April followed by a season at the State Theatre in Pretoria in July.

Booking is expected to open at Computicket on October 29.




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