Broadway’s Box Office Phenomenon Approaches Unprecedented 30 Years and 12,500 Performances
Producers Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group announced today principal cast changes leading up to the 30th Anniversary of the longest-running show in Broadway history, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, directed by Harold Prince. One of the most successful stage productions of all-time, the musical will welcome four principal cast members in the coming months.
This January, the New York production will celebrate 30 Years – an unprecedented feat achieved by no other Broadway show. While January 26, 2018 is the anniversary date for THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, the 30th Anniversary will be celebrated two days earlier on Wednesday, January 24. Plans for the evening will be announced in the coming weeks. The musical will enter its fourth decade having played 12,500 performances to 18 million people at The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street), and having grossed a staggering more than $1.1 billion. PHANTOM has been Broadway’s longest-running show for more than a decade and its astounding longevity in New York and around the world is unprecedented.
Current acclaimed ‘Phantom’ James Barbour will play his final performance on Saturday, December 23. With a run approaching three years, Mr. Barbour has played the role since February 2015. A successor to Mr. Barbour, who will begin on January 15, just prior to the 30th Anniversary, will be announced imminently. During the three weeks between Mr. Barbour and his successor (December 25 – January 13), the role of ‘The Phantom’ will be played by principal cast member Laird Mackintosh, who plays the role of ‘Monsieur André.’
Ali Ewoldt and Rodney Ingram, both of whom made headlines when they joined the New York cast, will continue in their roles as ‘Christine’ and ‘Raoul’ for the 30th Anniversary. Ms. Ewoldt made history when she became the first Asian-American actress to assume the role of ‘Christine’ in the Broadway production. Mr. Ingram is a dual citizen of Mexico and the United States. They both follow a long line of diversity casting in the New York production, previously including such notable leads as Broadway’s first Asian-American ‘Phantom’ (Kevin Gray), African-American ‘Phantom’ (Norm Lewis), African-American ‘Raoul’ (Jordan Donica) and African-American ‘Carlotta’ (Patricia Phillips).
Two performers new to the company come from the world of opera. Raquel Suarez Groen and Carlton Moe will respectively assume the roles of ‘Carlotta’ and ‘Piangi’ in their PHANTOM and Broadway debuts. Beginning tonight, Monday, October 30, they join current cast members Laird Mackintosh (‘Monsieur André’), Craig Bennett (‘Monsieur Firmin’), Maree Johnson (‘Madame Giry’) and Kara Klein (‘Meg Giry’), all of whom will continue in their roles for the Anniversary.
Direct from the original Broadway cast of Harold Prince’s Prince of Broadway, Phan favorite Kayley Ann Voorhees will return to play the role of the ‘Christine’ at certain performances, beginning the week of November 6.
- Ali Ewoldt joined the production as ‘Christine’ in June 2016. She previously made her Broadway debut in 2006 in Mr. Mackintosh’s first Broadway revival of Les Misérables as Cosette, having also appeared in the national tour. Her other credits include The King & I (Lincoln Center original cast, Chicago Lyric Opera as Tuptim), Luisa in The Fantasticks (Off-Broadway) and Maria in West Side Story (national tour). Earlier this year, she made her solo Cabaret debut at 54 Below.
- Rodney Ingram joined the production as ‘Raoul’ in March 2017. Born in Southern California, he was raised in Sayulita, Mexico and attended The American School of Puerto Vallarta. He later graduated from The American School of Paris. He joined PHANTOM direct from his Broadway debut in Disney’s Aladdin, where he understudied the title role.
- Soprano Raquel Suarez Groen will be making her Broadway debut as ‘Carlotta.’ She has appeared Off-Broadway as Roxanne Conti in iFigaro (90210)! and as Grand Dame in Vox Lumiere’s Phantom of the Opera. Notable opera credits include Marzelline, in Fidelio (Opera Carolina); Frasquita in Carmen (Opera San Antonio, Venture Opera); Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro (Opera on the James) and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi (Opera on the James, DiCapo Opera). Ms. Groen was born in Holland and raised in Canada. Ms. Groen succeeds Michele McConnell, who has a long history with the show. She first joined the New York production in February 2010 as a member of the Ensemble. She soon became a Carlotta understudy and eventually took over the role in July 2011. She has since played the role over 2,200 times, more than any other actress in the Broadway production. Her final performance was Saturday evening, October 28.
- Tenor Carlton Moe will be making his Broadway debut as ‘Piangi.’ Heralded by The New York Times as an “ardent tenor,” he debuted at Carnegie Hall with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2013. A native of Portland, Oregon, he has performed with such organizations as the Oregon Symphony, Walla Walla Symphony, Aspen Music Festival, Napa Music Festival, Savannah Voice Festival, Opera in Williamsburg, Charlottesville Symphony Society, and the Martina Arroyo Foundation. Mr. Moe succeeds Grammy Award winner John Easterlin, who joined the production in April 2016. His final performance was Saturday evening, October 28.
- Continuing in their featured principal roles for the 30th Anniversary are current cast members Laird Mackintosh (‘Monsieur André’), Craig Bennett (‘Monsieur Firmin’), Maree Johnson (‘Madame Giry’) and Kara Klein (‘Meg Giry’). Mr. Mackintosh previously played the role of ‘Raoul’ and covered the role of ‘The Phantom’ in the Toronto production. Mr. Bennett originated the role of ‘Firmin’ in the North American touring premiere of Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of PHANTOM. Ms. Johnson hails from Australia, where she was an original cast member of the premiere Australian cast of PHANTOM, eventually playing the role of Christine in both the Melbourne and Sydney productions. Ms. Klein has played the role of ‘Meg’ both on Broadway and on national tour.
- Kaley Ann Voorhees currently appears in the original Broadway cast of Prince of Broadway, the career retrospective of PHANTOM director Harold Prince. She also performed in the musical’s world premiere in Japan and made her opera debut in Mr. Prince’s production of Candide at New York City Opera last winter. She originally joined the Broadway production as the Christine Alternate in September 2014. Ms. Voorhees succeeds Rachel Eskenazi-Gold, who first joined the production in December 2015. Ms. Eskenazi-Gold’s final performance will be Sunday matinee, November 5.
Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L’Opéra 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.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is produced by Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group, has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is directed by Harold Prince. Lyrics are by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe) and the book is by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has production design by the late Maria Björnson, lighting by Andrew Bridge and sound design by Mick Potter with original sound by Martin Levan. Musical staging and choreography is by Gillian Lynne. Orchestrations are by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The performance schedule for THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is Monday evenings at 8, Tuesday evenings at 7, Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8, with matinees on Thursdays and Saturdays at 2. Ticket prices range from $29 – $155 with Premium Tickets also available. To order tickets, visit www.Telecharge.com or call (212) 239-6200. A daily digital lottery with $28 tickets for all performances is available by visiting www.PhantomBroadwayLottery.com.
Since its debut on January 26, 1988, the Broadway production of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has played an unprecedented 30 Years and grossed over $1.1 billion with total attendance of 18 million. Entering its fourth decade, it remains a box office champ and continues to play with no end in sight.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA became the longest-running show in Broadway history on January 9, 2006 with its 7,486th performance, surpassing the previous record-holder Cats, also by Andrew Lloyd Webber and also produced by Cameron Mackintosh. Incredibly, since breaking that record, PHANTOM has played both an additional 12 years and nearly 5,000 performances – which by itself would be a smash hit run for a Broadway musical.
On January 26, 2013 the Broadway production celebrated a milestone 25 Years. On November 28, 2016, it celebrated another historic achievement: becoming the first and only Broadway show to reach 12,000 performances. (By way of comparison, PHANTOM is ahead of Broadway’s second longest-running show, Chicago, by over 9 years and 4,000 performances.)
15 men have officially taken over the title role in the Broadway production. They are (in order): original star Michael Crawford, Timothy Nolen, Cris Groenendaal, Steve Barton, Kevin Gray, Mark Jacoby, Marcus Lovett, Davis Gaines, Thomas James O’Leary, Hugh Panaro, Howard McGillin, John Cudia, Peter Jöback, Norm Lewis and James Barbour. In addition, there have been five limited engagement replacements: Jeff Keller, Ted Keegan, Brad Little, Gary Mauer and Laird Mackintosh.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA became the first stage production in history to reach worldwide grosses of $6 billion, which it did in 2014. Revenues far surpass the world’s highest-grossing film Avatar (at $2.8 billion), as well as such other blockbusters as Titanic, The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park and Star Wars.
Worldwide, a staggering 140 million people have seen THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA in 35 countries and 160 cities in 15 languages.
The flagship London production of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA opened October 9, 1986 at Her Majesty’s Theatre. In October 2016, it celebrated its 30th Anniversary and surpassed 12,500 performances. Its milestone 25th Anniversary in October 2011 was celebrated with a special production at London’s Royal Albert Hall. A live recording was released on CD by Decca and a DVD of the event was released by Universal Home Entertainment.
There are currently six productions of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA around the world: London, New York, Sapporo (Japan, in repertory), Budapest (Hungary, in repertory), Gothenburg (Sweden, non-replica) and Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production, now in its fifth year on North American Tour.
The musical has won more than 70 major theater awards, including seven 1988 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and three Olivier Awards plus the 2016 Olivier Audience Award in the West End. The original cast recording, with over 40 million copies sold worldwide, is the best-selling cast recording of all time. Since September 2010, thousands of high school and college student productions of PHANTOM have been licensed through R&H Theatricals.