Today celebrates the 34th Anniversary of one of the most hauntingly romantic musicals of all time….. Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. Today celebrates 34 years since the show's legendary inaugural production in London's West End at Her Majesty's Theatre.

In celebration of this huge milestone, the channel The Shows Must Go On will be presenting a FREE LIVESTREAM presentation of PHANTOM's acclaimed 25th Anniversary concert production from London's Royal Albert Hall. This is the chance for all PHANS to still show their appreciation for THE MUSIC OF THE NIGHT as we anticipate the long awaited return of this timeless show. Get ready to have the most haunting thrills and chills of your life with the spectacular 2011 concert featuring 200 performers (both the cast and the orchestra) led by….

Tony and Olivier nominee Ramin Karimloo as the title role,

Olivier nominee and Broadway favorite Sierra Boggess as "Christine Daae",

and

Broadway and West End favorite Hadley Fraser as "Raoul, Vicomte De Changy",

It also features special appearances by….

The original London cast including it's 2 original stars Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman,

John Owen-Jones,

Anthony Warlow,

Colm Wilkinson,

and

Peter Jöback.

The streaming will begin at 2pm EST on The Shows Will Go On YouTube page.

If you want to experience the filmed concert in a unique setup this weekend from now till October 11th, 2020, be sure to also head over to Radial Park for their all new BROADWAY AT THE DRIVE IN series. You will be able to watch this presentation from the comfort of our own car (plus limited picnic seating). In addition, you get a little bit of that LIVE PERFORMANCE magic with PHANTOM veteran cast members Derrick Davis and Ali Ewoldt taking over some of the songs performed LIVE with a full 11 piece orchestra.

It has also been revealed that PHANTOM's iconic inaugural production will be returning. The aim is for the show to return in the Fall of 2021 with the iconic ORIGINAL PRODUCTION in tribute to its late director Hal Prince and its choreographer Gillian Lynne. Currently, the production's longtime home at Her Majesty's Theatre will be going under a full scale renovation…. both in the actual auditorium and a newly updated version of Maria Björnson's legendary set.

In case anyone may not know or have forgotten, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is a musical adaptation of the legendary novella by Gaston Leroux. It tells the tale of a mysterious disfigured musical mastermind (covered by half a white mask) living in the subterranean labyrinth lair underneath the Paris Opera House. It also centers on a young orphaned ballet girl turned soprano "Christine Daae", who the masked man has trained. Slowly, The Phantom falls in love with the young girl. However, when things don't go the figure's way, disaster strikes. The show features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe, and a book by Webber and Stilgoe. Notable songs include THINK OF ME, ANGEL OF MUSIC, the title song itself THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, THE MUSIC OF THE NIGHT, ALL I ASK OF YOU, MASQUERADE, WISHING YOU WERE SOMEHOW HERE AGAIN, and THE POINT OF NO RETURN.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA was first conceived by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1984. At the time, he wanted to write a piece for his wife at the time dancer turned soprano Sarah Brightman. He called longtime friend and collaborating producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh about aiming for a romantic story told on the stage. Webber suggested on the classic Gaston Leroux story. To get a visual sense, both watched the iconic 1925 Lon Chaney silent film version and the 1943 Claude Rains film version. However both Lloyd Webber and Mackintosh were unable to see how it could leap from screen to stage. A few months later in New York City while working another show, Lloyd Webber finds a second-hand copy of the original Gaston Leroux novel which supplied more the details and the necessary inspiration to develop a musical. He decided to give PHANTOM a 2nd chance. From there, he went straight to work on the piece. Lloyd Webber contacted Jim Steinman to write the lyrics thanks to his "dark obsessive side", but he declined in order to fulfill his commitments on several albums he was producing at the time. He then reached out to Alan Jay Lerner who later became seriously ill after joining the project and was forced to withdraw. None of contributions (including the involvement of the song MASQUERADE) are credited in the show. Lloyd Webber's 3rd contact was lyricist Richard Stilgoe (which they previously collaborated together on the musical STARLIGHT EXPRESS). To give the audience a taste of the story, Lloyd Webber staged an early production / workshop at his home in Sydmonton (located in Hampshire, England) a year later. What they originally saw was an early rough draft with songs being cut and later rewrites by a young unknown writer named Charles Hart. However, parts of Richard Stilgoe's original lyrics are still in the score today. In addition, the initial mask for "The Phantom" was a full muffled mask where people couldn't even hear him sing full out. However, it was changed to what we know today as the half-faced white mask. From there, a full creative team was brought together including Maria Bjornson designing the sets and costumes, Gillian Lynne as choreographer, and direction by Hal Prince.

The show began its full-out world premiere in 1987 at Her Majesty's Theatre in London's West End. However most people realize that during its early dress rehearsals and previews, the show went through so much technical problems including the musical's famous climatic moment at the end of the first act…..yup. the crashing of the chandelier (where luckily no one got hurt). In addition, the leading lady herself Sarah Brightman lost her voice by the 2nd preview which now today makes the show use 2 alternating actresses for the lead role of "Christine". Despite all the Drama behind the scenes, the musical still went on to become the hottest ticket in London's West End with the show's original cast recording selling both of which have been certified 4× Platinum in the US and sold 4.97 million copies all around the world.

The original London production was continuing to play to packed houses as the 2nd Longest Running Show in West End History before the shutdown.

Under the direction of Hal Prince and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, the original leads consisted of….

Michael Crawford as the title role,

Sarah Brightman as "Christine Daae",

and the late Steve Barton as "Raoul, Vicomte De Changy".

Over the years, there have been numerous replacements within that London company.

It was nominated for 3 Olivier Awards in 1986 winning 2 for BEST NEW MUSICAL and BEST LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL (for Michael Crawford).

A year later by the overwhelming response of the UK audiences, PHANTOM made its way across the pond to our Broadway backyard in 1988 at the Majestic Theatre becoming a critical smash hit.

Under the direction of Hal Prince and choreography by Gillian Lynne, the cast featured Crawford, Brightman, and Barton all reprising their original London roles for the NY stage. Over the years, there have been continued on going replacements.

In 2006, PHANTOM on Broadway played its 7,486th surpassing the original production of another Lloyd Webber smash hit Cats becoming the top Longest Running Show in Broadway History. Before this pandemic happened, PHANTOM continued playing to packed houses 8 times a week on Broadway. It has been running for 32 years and played over 13,000 performances.

The show was nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 1988 winning 7 including BEST MUSICAL, BEST LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL (for Michael Crawford), BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL (for Hal Prince), and more.

Following its triumph in London's West End and on Broadway, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA went on to become a worldwide smash hit. Within these past over 30+ years, the musical has played on 6 continents and was translated into every major language.

Along with its success on stage, PHANTOM was well recieved on screen. Along with the filmed concert production, the full legnth feature film adaptation of the musical was released in 2004 from Warner Bros. Pictures. It received mixed reviews but well received by audiences with critics praising the vocals and acting. It grossed over $154.6 million worldwide at the Box Office. Under the direction of Joel Schumaccher, the cast starred…

Gerard Butler as "The Phantom",

Emmy Rossum as "Christine Daae",

and Tony nominee Patrick Wilson as "Raoul, Vicomte De Changy".

It went on to be nominated for several Awards including the Golden Globes and the Oscars but lost its categories.

We cannot wait for PHANTOM to return in 2021! The legacy of this musical still lives on.

HAPPY 34TH ANNIVERSARY PHANTOM!!! BRAVO!!!

Who is excited?!!!

Who loves PHANTOM?!!!

VIDEO: Celebrate THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA’s Birthday with The Shows Must Go On- Live at 2pm!

THE SHOWS MUST GO ON is officially back this week with the birthday of Andrew Lloyd Webber's masterpiece The Phantom of The Opera. Starring Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess and Hadley Fraser! The stream will air at 2pm ET and will be available for 48 hours.

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