‘Phantom of the Opera’ Celebrates 30 Years on Broadway
“The Phantom of the Opera” is here — and has been for three decades. The musical opened on Jan. 26, 1988, and this month, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s haunting classic celebrates its 30th anniversary at the historic Majestic Theatre, continuing its reign as the longest-running show in Broadway history.
“I like to joke that we’re a gateway musical because we are so many people’s first Broadway musical,” says Ali Ewoldt, who plays Christine, the young chorus girl seduced by the Phantom. “It’s an awesome responsibility to introduce people to the world of musical theater. I hope that they see us and are inspired to go see other shows and expand their musical horizons.”
Ewoldt calls Christine a “dream role,” one it has taken her 10 years to land, making her the first Asian-American actress in the part. Rodney Ingram, who plays Christine’s childhood friend and love interest Raoul, first saw the abridged version in Las Vegas and joined the Broadway company in March, while Maree Johnson began her career playing Christine in the Australian production and now has come full circle to take on Madame Giry, the ballet mistress. “To come back 20-something years later and play a completely different character, that’s a gift,” Johnson says.
The show has become something of a New York institution, ranking among the top tourist destinations. Fans come from around the world to explore the Phantom’s lair, and many make several return trips. And even those who can’t make it to the city send gifts and artwork to the stage door. “People who don’t have access to theater hear the music first and fall in love with the score and hope to see the show one day,” says Kara Klein, who plays the ballerina Meg. “As soon as you hear it, you know what it is.”
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