15 fun facts about Phantom of the Opera

Posted on 11 October 2021

Phantom of the Opera opened in London’s West End in 1986 and today it is celebrating its 35th anniversary! To mark this epic milestone, we’re going to delve into some fun facts about the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Don’t forget to celebrate this special birthday with tickets for Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre; this is one classic you have to see! And Phantom tickets remain some of the most popular in the West End over three decades so book yours now!

15. Second longest-running West End musical!

Phantom of the Opera is the second longest-running musical in the West End (first place going to Les Misérables). On the other side of the pond, the musical is the longest-running Broadway show of all time!

14. Played to over 140 million people

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera musical has been produced and performed around the world. It has been played in 35 countries and 166 cities around the world!

13. The album was the first of its kind to chart at number 1

The original cast recording of the Phantom of the Opera was the first in British musical theatre history to enter the charts at number one. It is still a hugely successful album today with album sales now exceeding 40 million.

12. It’s the biggest box office hit!

Having played around the world in vast productions, and remaining one of the most popular musicals today, it's no surprise that the musical is successful. But did you know the box office revenues are higher than any film or stage play in history? It has an estimated gross of $6 billion!

11. Phantom has played over 13,000 performances in the West End!

Phantom of the Opera opened at the West End’s Her Majesty’s Theatre back in 1986, with an official opening night on 9 October.

10. Phantom of the Opera is a MULTI award-winning musical!

The musical has won over 70 major theatre awards which include 3 Oliver Awards, 7 Tony Awards, an Evening Standard Award, 7 Drama Desk Awards and 5 Outer Critic Circle Awards.

9. The West End has had 19 Phantoms!

The role of the Phantom is one of the most prolific today and was originated in the West End and Broadway by Michael Crawford and since then the role has been played by various actors including, Martin Smith, Peter Karrie, Dave Willetts, John Owen-Jones, Ramin Karimloo, Peter Jöback, Simon Bowman, Earl Carpenter, Marcus Lovett, Peter Cousens, Peter Polycarpou, Ben Forster, Ben Lewis, Tim Howar, Geronimo Rauch, Mike SterlingDavid Thaxton and Killian Donnelly.

8. It takes 2 hours to become the Phantom!

That is, that it takes 2 hours to put on the Phantom’s makeup. The process includes the face being moisturised, closely shaved, prosthetics fitted and makeup applied after which 2 wigs, 2 radio microphones and 2 contact lenses are put into place.

7. The Phantom mask is custom made!

Each actor who plays the Phantom has a mask made just for them. It is custom made from a mould of their face.

6. There are 230 costumes in each performance

Each performance of Phantom of the Opera has 230 costumes with 14 dressers! There are also 111 wigs that are made of human, yak and synthetic hair.

5. Phantom of the Opera uses 250kg of dry ice for each performance

The musical has 281 candles per performance as well as using 250kg of dry ice combined with 10 fog and smoke machines, to create that haunting atmosphere.

4. The boat doesn’t always work…

Sometimes the boat that takes the Phantom and Christine across the underground lake malfunctions before completing the journey. If this happens then the Phantom will lead Christine the rest of the way on foot.

3. The replica of the Paris Opera House chandelier is made up of 6000 beads!

The chandelier has 35 beads per string. It is 3 metres wide and weighs a whopping one ton. The original version was built by 5 people in 4 weeks.

2. The musical has played in 15 different languages

Phantom of the Opera has been performed in English, French, German, Japanese, Danish, Polish, Swedish, Castilian, Hungarian, Dutch, Korean, Portuguese, Mexican, Spanish, Estonian and Russian.

1. Each performance has 120 people directly involved

The musical is a huge feat and there are approximately 120 cast, crew and orchestra members involved directly with each performance.

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By Jade Ali

A love for theatre stemmed from my love of literature and music, but the West End on my doorstep opened up a whole new appreciation and passion for all things stage-y