Timeline

1911 Le Fantome de ‘Opera (The Phantom of the Opera) by Gaston Leroux was published. Leroux claimed to have been inspired to write the story after visiting the Paris Opera house. While roaming its lower depths he found a mysterious subterranean lake which was visible through iron grilles in the floor. Leroux also remembered an unfortunate accident in 1896 when one of the chandelier’s counterweights had fallen on the audience.
1922 ‘Uncle’ Carl Laemmle, President of Universal Pictures met Leroux while on vacation in France. Laemmle confessed how enraptured he’d been with the opera house from the Place de l’Opéra, and sensing his interest Leroux gave Laemmle a copy of his book for his bedtime reading. Laemmle stayed awake the whole night to finish the book and by the morning was determined to turn it into a film.
1924 The Phantom of the Opera staring Lon Chaney – the ‘man of a thousand faces’, begins filming at Universal Studio in Hollywood. A replica of the Paris Opera House was built on Stage 28, and so sound was its construction that for the most part it still stands there to this day.
26th Apr 1925 Universal’s silent film The Phantom of the Opera staring Lon Chaney premiered in San Francisco.
1930 Dialogue sequences are recorded for the 1925 The Phantom of the Opera film and music and sound effects were added for the first time.
1945 The Phantom of the Opera was rewritten and remade with Claude Rains as a Technicolor film. It was somewhat successful.
May 1984 Andrew Lloyd Webber reads a review about a stage adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera produced by The Theatre Royal in Stratford, and calls Cameron Mackintosh about the idea of turning it into a new musical.
Early 1985 Andrew Lloyd Webber comes across a faded copy of the original Leroux novel in a second hand bookshop in New York, and buys it for a dollar. The book inspired him to create a romantic musical score for his new wife Sarah Brightman.
Summer 1985 the first act of The Phantom of the Opera was presented to an invited audience in its early draft form at his at the Sydmonton Festival at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Hampshire country home.
Nov 1985 Designer Maria Björnson visits the Paris Opera House to gain inspiration for her set design for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera.
Spring 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber tests the water with a record which encapsulated the story of The Phantom of the Opera as he then saw it. ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ was arranged as a rock number and the single reached number 7 in the charts.
Mar 1986 Open Auditions for The Phantom of the Opera begin.
18th Aug 1986 First day of rehearsals for The Phantom of the Opera in London.
9th Oct 1986 After a few weeks of previews The Phantom of the Opera opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London staring Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford.
10th Oct 1986 The Times review of The Phantom of the Opera comes out with the headline “God’s Gift to Musical Theatre”.
7th Dec 1986 The Phantom of the Opera wins 3 Lawrence Olivier Awards including Best New Musical.
1987 The Original London Cast Album is released in CD format in 1987; it becomes the first album in British musical history to enter the UK albums chart at #1.
Feb 1987 Princess Diana attends The Phantom of the Opera with Andrew Lloyd Webber.
26th Jan 1988 The Phantom of the Opera opens on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre on West 44th Street to a then record advance of $18million at the box office. Warner Brothers is interested in making it into a film. Crawford, Brightman and Barton reprised their respective roles from the London production.
Jan 1988 Andrew Lloyd Webber and Joel Schumacher first meet and discuss the possibility of making The Phantom of the Opera into a film. As to not jepordise the success of the stage version, they both agreed to put their ideas on hold.
Apr 1988 The third production in the world of The Phantom of the Opera – opens in Tokyo, Japan. It is the first production in Asia, and is a Japanese local language production overseen by the original creative team.
5th Jun 1988 The Phantom of the Opera wins 7 Tony Awards in New York including Best Musical.
8th Dec 1990 After a few weeks of previews The Phantom of the Opera the first production in Australia opens in Melbourne and Andrew Lloyd Webber attends. The production played for 2 ½ years at The Princess Theatre to just over 1.5 million people.
16th Dec 1999 After a few weeks of previews, the first production in South America of The Phantom of the Opera opens in Mexico City, Mexico.
Christmas 2002 Joel Schumacher and Andrew Lloyd Webber meet once again and agreed it is time to make The Phantom of the Opera into a film.
8th Apr 2004 After a week of previews the first production in Africa of The Phantom of the Opera opens in Cape Town, South Africa.
12th Dec 2004 The Phantom of the Opera film premieres in New York at the Ziegfeld Theater. The same week the film is nominated for 3 Golden Globe Awards including Best Musical/Comedy Picture, Best Actress for Emmy Rossum, and Best Original Song for “Learn to Be Lonely.”
2006 The Phantom of the Opera ranks second in BBC Radio 2 listener poll of the “Nation’s Number One Essential Musicals”.
9th Jan 2006 The Broadway production becomes the longest running show ever on Broadway overtaking Cats with its 7,486th performance.
24th Jun 2006 Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular opens as a 95-minute, intermission-less version of the show at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
26th Jan 2009 The Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera celebrates its 21st anniversary. The Phantom at the time, Ramin Karimloo (who later becomes the Phantom in the London production of Love Never Dies) cuts a cake on stage with Andrew Lloyd Webber and the whole Broadway cast.
9th Oct 2011 The Phantom of the Opera celebrated its 25th Anniversary.