In theatre terms, one of the highlights this Christmas would have been PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at the Wales Millennium Centre. We say would, because it has just been announced that the tour will not re-open once the Coronavirus crisis ends.
The UK & Ireland Tour managed to take in only one stop before Coronavirus struck and shut down our theatres. The team at Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group have now said, the Phantom’s lair is shut completely on this current tour, even when theatre doors re-open.
This is the official statement……..
“It is with great sadness that due to the current state of complete shutdown of the British theatre by the Government because of Covid-19, Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group must announce that their new UK and Ireland Tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera”, which had only played its opening date prior to a 14 month tour, will not re-open.”
“The great uncertainty around the duration of social distancing requirements and the perilous financial situation in which many regional theatres find themselves have conspired to make re-routing an entire major tour like Phantom impossible for some time as so many existing tours are needing to reschedule.
The production opened at Curve, Leicester at the beginning of March. Subsequent runs in Manchester and Dublin have already been cancelled. Following these dates, the tour was due to play Birmingham, Edinburgh, Sunderland, Cardiff, Plymouth, Southampton and Bradford.“
“Whilst it is heart breaking for us as producers as well as for our wonderful cast, orchestra and crew who had all worked so hard to create this truly spectacular but tragically short-lived reinvented staging of the original production, we are determined that the disappearance of the “Phantom” from the British regional stage will not be forever and that when theatre is back thrilling audiences again the “Music of the Night” will soar once more from the orchestra pit.
Ticket holders will be contacted directly by their venue/point of sale in due course and we appreciate their patience in this unprecedented time.”
The show was starring Killian Donnelly as ‘The Phantom’, Holly-Anne Hull ‘Christine Daaé’, Rhys Whitfield ‘Raoul’, Saori Oda ‘Carlotta Giudicelli’, Adam Linstead ‘Monsieur André’, Matt Harrop ‘Monsieur Firmin’, Francesca Ellis ‘Madame Giry’, Greg Castiglioni ‘Ubaldo Piangi’ and Ellie Young ‘Meg Giry’.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA would have been the Wales Millennium Centre’s Christmas show this year, playing from 9th December to 16th January 2021. As disappointing as this announcement is, we can only hope that once the world corrects itself, a new tour can be added. In the meantime, here is our original feature on the show.
Incredibly, the show is in its 34th year in the West End. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is widely considered one of the most beautiful and spectacular productions in history. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s romantic, haunting and soaring score includes Music of the Night, All I Ask of You, Masquerade and the iconic title song. Here’s a little trip down memory lane and a version we are sure you’ll remember…….
In case you don’t know the story. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA tells the tale of a disfigured musical genius known only as ‘The Phantom’ who haunts the depths of the Paris Opera House. Mesmerised by the talents and beauty of a young soprano – Christine, the Phantom lures her as his protégé and falls deeply and dangerously in love with her. Unaware of Christine’s love for Raoul, the Phantom’s obsession sets the scene for a dramatic turn of events where jealousy, madness and passions collide.
Yes, we realise it’s a long time to wait, but something this big and truly spectacular needs to be appreciated, and part of the fun is waiting for it to arrive here. In the meantime, all we can offer you is a little preview and more than a few facts we’ve uncovered which you may not know. Unless you’re like us in the SOUTH WALES LIFE office and total PHANTOM PHAN-ATICS.
PHANTOM FAN FACTS EVERY PHANTOM FAN NEEDS TO KNOW
- The idea of the Phantom was first conceived by Gaston Leroux in 1910 in Paris, France. Obviously, Le Fantome de L’Opera is a frenchman. It will be about 70 years later when Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote the musical we all know today.
- In the original book, the Phantom’s name is Erik. The 1910 book is vastly different than the musical. A heartbreaking book, Phantom by Susan Kay, tells the tragic origin story of Erik.
- The Phantom first appeared in film in an 1925 silent film.
- 15 years after the book was published, a black and white, silent horror film was created starring Lon Chaney. The film loosely followed the events of Leroux’s book.
- The Opera Garnier is the real life setting and inspiration for the Phantom of the Opera. The opera house sits in Paris.
- There are 7 stores below the stage of the Opera Garnier. Below those stories is indeed a lake under the opera house. Although it is unlikely anyone actually lived down there, there are alcoves open spaces when the water is low enough. It’s easy to see how Leroux was inspired when he saw these caverns.
- The Phantom had been fully scarred from birth according to the book. Erik was described as a “living corpse” by onlookers and was even a freak show attraction. His eyes in book are yellow and glow like the eyes of a cat.
- A real chandelier fell. In 1896, the Opera’s main chandelier fell because of a counterweight, killing a construction worker. This event inspired the events of the book.
- Leroux’s Phantom was fully deformed and that was the plan for Webber’s Phantom. However, it was both difficult to apply all the costume makeup and for Michael Crawford, the original Phantom, to sing and be heard properly with the full mask. Therefore, the mask the cut to the shape we see on stage today. The artwork for the poster was never changed.
- The box office revenue is higher than any other film or stage show, including blockbuster films such as Titanic. SEE BELOW
- When Phantom debuted in the West End, people used to line up around the block and sleep outside in order to get tickets.
- The stage has holes in it for the candles to rise through as the Phantom leads Christine to his lair. Once, Michael Crawford stepped 6 inches away from where he was supposed to, and a candle went up the leg of his pants.
- An instrumental version of “Beneath a Moonless Sky” — a duet between the Phantom and Christine in the musical sequel Love Never Dies — can be heard in the 2004 film, long before Love Never Dies debuted on the West End.
- The masquerade scene uses mannequins to make it seem like there’s more people on stage.
PHANTOM FACTS & FIGURES
- Played to over 140 million people in 35 countries in 166 cities around the world with an estimated gross of $6 billion
- The countries are England, United States of America, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Eire, Austria, Sweden, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Scotland, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Wales, Estonia, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Philippines, China, Taiwan, Czech Republic, Thailand, Turkey and Finland
- The box office revenues are higher than any film or stage play in history, including Titanic, ET, Star Wars and Avatar.
- Played for almost 30 years and over 12,000 performances at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London
- Played in 15 different languages: English, French, German, Japanese, Danish, Polish, Swedish, Castilian, Hungarian, Dutch, Korean, Portuguese, Mexican Spanish, Estonian and Russian
- Won over 70 major theatre awards including 3 Olivier Awards, an Evening Standard Award, 7 Tony Awards including Best Musical, 7 Drama Desk Awards and 5 Outer Critic Circle Awards.
- Original cast recording was the first in British musical history to enter the charts at number one. Album sales now exceed 40 million
- On 9 January 2006 the New York production overtook Cats to become the longest running show in Broadway history with its 7,486th On 7 July 2014 it celebrated its 11,000th performance on Broadway.
- The dazzling replica of the Paris Opera House chandelier is made up of 6,000 beads consisting of 35 beads to each string. It is 3 metres wide and weighs one ton. The touring version falls at 2.5 metres per second. The original version was built by 5 people in 4 weeks.
- The Phantom’s make-up takes 2 hours to put on and 30 minutes to take off. The face is moisturised, closely shaved and the prosthetics are fitted, setting immediately, before 2 wigs, 2 radio microphones and 2 contact lenses (one white and one clouded) are placed.
- 2,230 metres of fabric are used for the drapes, 900 of them specially dyed. The tasselled fringes measure 226 metres. They are made up of 250 kilos of dyed wool interwoven with 5,000 wooden beads imported from India. Each one is handmade and combed through with an Afro comb.
- There are 130 cast, crew and orchestra members directly involved in each performance.
- Each performance has 230 costumes, 14 dressers, 120 automated cues, 22 scene changes, 281 candles and uses 250 kg of dry ice and 10 fog and smoke machines.
So you now know THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is one of the most successful musicals in entertainment history playing to over 145 million people in 41 countries and 183 cities in 17 languages. It has won more than 70 major theatre awards, including seven Tony Awards and four Olivier Awards.
It’s actually the only show in history to have celebrated 30 years on both sides of the Atlantic. In October 2016 the London production celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a special gala performance at Her Majesty’s Theatre and in October 2011 the London production celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a spectacular staging of “The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall” which was screened live in cinemas all over the world and subsequently released on DVD. This is our favourite performance from that show…..
The musical became the longest running show in Broadway history on 9 January 2006 when it celebrated its 7,486th performance. On 1 January 2018 it celebrated its 13,000th performance and later that month on 24 January the Broadway production celebrated an amazing 30 years on Broadway.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by Charles Hart, and Additional Lyrics by Richard Stilgoe. Book is by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber. It’s currently showing in London, New York, Prague and Sao Paulo, as well as on tour in the US and Asia.
As we said, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA tour is now completely cancelled. Ticket holders will be contacted in due course.