In the Hal Prince revue, Prince of Broadway, Brandon Uranowitz speaks as Prince when introducing the scenes from The Phantom of the Opera. He says something to effect of: "Some people ask me what what makes a show such a success. If I knew I'd do it every time". This is the perfect introduction to Phantom, which yesterday became the first Broadway show to celebrate it's 30th anniversary. And what did I do yesterday evening? Went back to celebrate.
above: The Empire State Building lights up in a show of music and light to celebrate 30 years of Phantom of the Opera
An institution on Broadway, The Phantom of the Opera has seen over 18 million people walk through the doors of the Majestic Theater throughout it's 30 year life and has had some of the most talented actors take their stage to play some of the most famous musical theater roles.
For the 30th anniversary, Peter Jöback, who has played the part in London, Stockholm, and Broadway, returned to Broadway to play The Phantom. Ali Ewoldt made history as the first Asian-American to play Christine on Broadway and remained with the production for the anniversary, alongside Rodney Ingram as Raoul, Christine's childhood friend and love interest. The trio is incredible, and I was blown away by Jöback's Phantom, since it was the first time I had seen him in the title role. Ewoldt and Ingram are just as amazing as they were the first time I saw the show, and I hope they remain in the show for a long time.
Other members of the cast include Kara Klein as Meg Giry, Maree Johnson as Madame Giry, and Raquel Suarez Groen as Carlotta, all of whom are absolutely incredible. I truly cannot say enough wonderful things about this show.
Before taking their final bows, the cast took several minutes to make a speech and thank the people behind Phantom. They mentioned Hal Prince, who directed, Andrew Lloyd Webber, who as we all know, wrote the music, Cameron Mackintosh, who produced the show, and Maria Björnson, who created the sets and costumes. The cast and the people they spoke about, are the reason why it is has lasted so long. New Yorkers and tourists alike come to see the longest running show on Broadway, which beat the record set by Cats back in 2006, to explore the world of The Phantom for themselves, and to let their fantasies unwind. To be there on the anniversary was incredibly special, and something that will stay with me for a long time.