Principal cast changes have been announced for the Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, the longest-running show in Broadway history. Produced by Cameron Mackintosh/Really Useful Group, Inc. and directed by Harold Prince, the musical phenomenon this year celebrated an unprecedented 25 Years in New York, where it plays at The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street).
International PHANTOM star Marni Raab will resume performances as the Principal Christine beginning the week of July 29. Ms. Raab has played the leading role of Christine Daaé across the country and around the world and is currently the New York Company’s Christine Alternate. (The Principal Christine plays six performances a week with the Christine Alternate playing two.) Her first performance moving back to the Principal Christine will be Tuesday, July 30.
Ms. Raab has a long, unique history with the show, including numerous engagements with the U.S. Tour between September 2001 and 2008 and originating the role of Christine for the Asian World Tour between December 2004 and August 2006. She became the thirteenth actress to be cast as Christine in the Broadway production in August 2008. Since that time, she’s played numerous engagements as both the Principal Christine and the Christine Alternate, which she’s most recently played since March of this year. On Broadway, she has played the role of Christine over 750 times, making her the fifth longest-running Christine in the production’s history.
Ms. Raab succeeds Samantha Hill, who will play her final performance as Christine on Saturday evening, July 29. Ms. Hill began as the Christine Alternate in November 2012 as part of the 25th Anniversary cast. She soon took over as the Principal Christine in March 2013, the seventeenth actress to do so, and which she has played to date. Since joining the NewYork production, she has played the role of Christine over 150 times. A Canadian actress and Ovation Award nominee for performances in that country, she departs the Broadway cast to appear as “Cosette” in Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Les Misérables that will open in Toronto this fall.
Joining the production in her PHANTOM debut is Mary Michael Patterson, who will play her first performance on Monday, July 29. Ms. Patterson made her Broadway debut in the recent revival of Anything Goes, including being seen as “Hope Harcourt.” Her other credits include “Liesl” in The Sound of Music at Carnegie Hall and leading roles in Regional productions of Sense and Sensibility – The Musical (“Marianne Dashwood”), White Christmas (“Judy Haynes”) and Singin’ in the Rain (“Kathy Selden”), as well as seasons at Pittsburgh CLO and The St. Louis MUNY.
In other principal casting news, former PHANTOM-Toronto star Laird Mackintosh will join the Broadway production as “Monsieur André” beginning August 26. The Canadian-born performer made his musical theater debut in the original Canadian production of PHANTOM in 1993 playing the role of “Raoul” (the third romantic lead in the musical) for three years. He also covered the title role, giving numerous performances in the part. In total, he gave over 2000 performances of the show at Toronto’s Pantages Theatre. He made his Broadway debut as “George Banks” in Mary Poppins and most recently appeared as “John Utterson” in the Broadway revival of Jekyll & Hyde. Extensive credits in his native Canada include The Drowsy Chaperone (“Robert Martin”), White Christmas (“Phil Davis”), Arcadia (“Septimus Hodge”), South Pacific (“Lieutenant Cable”), Hello, Dolly! (“Cornelius Hackl”), Into the Woods (“Rapunzel’s Prince”), Anything Goes (“Evelyn Oakleigh”) and My Fair Lady (“Freddy”).
Mr. Mackintosh succeeds Jim Weitzer, who assumed the role of “André” in November 2012 as part of the production’s celebrated 25th Anniversary cast. His final performance will be Saturday, July 27. Mr. Weitzer has a long history with the musical. Originally a “Raoul” on the National Tour, Mr. Weitzer was the ninth actor to take over that role in the Broadway production. A formerly longtime Ensemble member with the production, he will return to the role of “Monsieur Reyer” on Monday, September 29.
Continuing in their roles with the New York Company are European stage and recording star Peter Jöback (“The Phantom”), Kyle Barisich (“Raoul”), Tim Jerome (“Firmin”), Michele McConnell (“Carlotta”), Marilyn Caskey (“Madame Giry”), Christian Sêbek (“Piangi”) and Kara Klein (“Meg”).
As previously announced, Ellen Harvey returns to the role of “Madame Giry” beginning Wednesday, July 30. In addition, 25th Anniversary “Phantom” Hugh Panaro returns to the title role on Monday, August 26, after having earned rave reviews as “Jean Valjean” in The St. Louis MUNY production of Les Misérables.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA became the longest-running show in Broadway history on January 9, 2006 with its 7,486th performance (surpassing the previous record-holder Cats, also by Andrew Lloyd Webber and also produced by Mackintosh). Incredibly, since breaking that record, PHANTOM has played both an additional 7 years and nearly 3,000 performances—which by itself would be a smash hit run for a Broadway musical. It has just become the first show to celebrate 25 Years—an unprecedented milestone in Broadway history—on January 26, 2013.
On Broadway, since its debut on January 26, 1988, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has grossed over $900 million. Even now—as it celebrates its 25th Anniversary Year on Broadway—it is consistently among Broadway’s highest-grossing shows and remains a box office champ. Earlier this year, the production shattered the house record at the Majestic by having its best weekly gross in its entire 25-year history. Total attendance is now over 15 million and it continues to play with no end in sight.
The musical’s international success—equally staggering—is represented by total worldwide grosses estimated at over $5.6 billion. This colossal figure makes PHANTOM the most successful entertainment venture of all time, with revenues higher than any film or stage play in history, including Titanic, Star Wars and far surpassing the world’s highest-grossing film Avatar (at $2.8 billion). Worldwide, over 65,000 performances have been seen by 130 million people in 29 countries and 150 cities in 13 languages.
The flagship London production, which opened in 1986 at Her Majesty’s Theatre, celebrated 25 years in October 2011. That milestone was celebrated with a special production at London’s Royal Albert Hall to tremendous acclaim. A live recording was released on CD by Decca and a DVD of the event was released by Universal Home Entertainment.
There are currently seven productions around the world: the flagship London production (26 Years and counting), New York (25 Years and counting), Kyoto (Japan, 25 Years and counting), Budapest (Hungary), Singapore and Cameron Mackintosh’s all-new production of the musical which is currently enjoying a record-breaking UK National Tour, which will tour North America, launching in Providence this November. The next international openings will be in Hamburg (Germany) and Shanghai (China), both in December 2013.
The show has won more than 70 major theater awards, including seven 1988 Tony Awards® (including Best Musical) and three Olivier Awards in the West End. The original cast recording, with over 40 million copies sold worldwide, is the best-selling cast recording of all time. In September 2010, student productions of PHANTOM started being licensed through R&H Theatricals, and so far have been performed at hundreds of high schools and colleges across the U.S. and in Canada.
Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is produced by Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Theatre Company, Inc., has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is directed by Harold Prince. Lyrics are by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe) and the book is by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has production design by the late Maria Björnson, lighting by Andrew Bridge and sound design by Mick Potter with original sound by Martin Levan. Musical staging and choreography is by Gillian Lynne. Orchestrations are by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The performance schedule for THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is Monday evenings at 8PM, Tuesday evenings at 7PM, Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8PM, with matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2PM. Ticket prices range from $27 – $137 with Premium Tickets also available. To order tickets, visit Telecharge.com or call (212) 239-6200.