20 Incredible Facts About Phantom of the Opera
Phantom of the Opera is the longest running show on Broadway and has been seen by over 140 million people. It has won over 70 major theatre awards, and is in essence, the standard to which all other musicals are held against. We have some facts about the world famous Phantom of the Opera which you might not know!
1. Andrew Lloyd Webber based this iconic musical off of a book by Gaston Leroux which was written in 1910. The book is strikingly different than the musical, and in Leroux’s book, the phantom’s name is Erik, whom only refers to himself in third person.
2. The Phantom of the Opera first made its film debut in 1925 as a black and white silent horror film. This film loosely followed Leroux’s novel.
3. Unlike some of the more modern versions, the book describes the phantom, Erik, as being fully scarred and deformed from birth with yellow glowing eyes similar to a cat’s. It was too difficult for the performance to be heard with complete makeup and a full-face mask, which is why the Webber version uses the half-face mask we see today.
4. They can’t all be Gerald Butler! All other phantoms must be made to be unattractive, which can take a tremendous amount of time. For a Webber production, it typically takes two hours of prep time for the phantom’s makeup!
5. The Opera Populaire and the phantom’s lair are both based off of real places. The Opera Populaire was inspired by The Opera Garnier in Paris. Underneath The Opera Garnier rests 7 stories below the stage. Under these seven stories is in fact a lake surrounded by cavern-like alcoves!
6. Over 400 actors have appeared in the New York version of Phantom of the Opera
7. There have been 20 phantoms (15 regular actors and 5 substitutes). Each of these actors has had a custom-made mask made from a mold of his face. Over 300 masks have been made in the last 30 years.
8. Howard McGillan holds the record of playing the phantom more than any other performer with a whopping 2,500 performances.
9. Each performance involves 125 people including cast, crew, orchestra, and house personnel.
10. The Majestic Theatre is home to 150 trap doors!
11. There are 230 costumes and 111 wigs used in the musical.
12. There is a sequel! If you couldn’t get enough of POTA, there is a continuation of the story, called Love Never Dies.
13. The first time Phantom of the Opera did a US Tour, it lasted 20 years!
14. Pants on fire! There are holes drilled into the stage where candles come up for the lair scene. At one time the Phantom actor Michael Crawford missed his mark by 6 inches and a candle went up the leg of his pants!
15. Christine must choose to either save Raoul and live with the phantom forever, or gain her freedom at the cost of Raoul’s life. In Leroux’s version, the Phantom threatens to blow up the entire opera house if she leaves.
16. Hugh Jackman was considered for the role of the 2004 movie version of Phantom of the Opera, but was occupied with the filming of (you guessed it) X-Men.
17. Ramin Karimloo plays Christine’s father in the 2004 adaptation. He has also played both Raoul and the Phantom in stage productions. He is the only actor to play all three roles.
18. The movie references the book when Raoul enters the mirror chamber. In the book the Phantom drove his victims to insanity with a mirrored chamber.
19. The replica of the Paris Opera House chandelier is comprised of 6,000 beads. It weights one ton. The original version was built over four weeks by five people.
20. Mouthing off! Two Phantom actors have gotten their prosthetics stuck to Christine during kissing scenes.