Megan Draghi Staff Writer
Twenty-five years after “The Phantom of the Opera” opened at the Majestic Theater in 1988, it has become Broadway’s longest running musical.
“The Phantom of the Opera” is about a beautiful young opera singer, Christine Daae, who stars in an opera production after a stage accident led the original lead singer to quit at last minute. After the show, Christine is reunited with her childhood sweetheart Raoul until a mysterious Phantom appears. Though the Phantom’s face is deformed, he looks for true love, which he finds in Christine. The show follows the Phantom’s desperate attempt to win her heart.
The production, written by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1986, originated in England, and is based on a novel by Gaston Leroux. Due to its major success on the West End, it came to Broadway two years later.
A major twenty-fifth anniversary event included having superstar Sierra Boggess perform at the Majestic Theatre as Christine from January 21 to March 2. Boggess first played Christine in the 2006 musical, “Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular.” In October 2011, Boggess performed in three special filmed performances at the Royal Albert Hall in England. She also starred in the 2010 sequel musical, “Love Never Dies,” which follows the lovable characters ten years later. Boggess is considered by Broadway critics as one of the most famous actresses to ever play the role of Christine.
Since 2010, veteran actor Hugh Panaro stars as the lead role of the Phantom. After 14 years of playing the Phantom on and off, Panaro gives a convincing portrayal of a tortured mad man with a desire to be more than just a monster. He makes the audience fear him at certain moments and also sympathize with him as he realizes simply training Christine to sing is not enough to gain her affection.
“The Phantom of the Opera” is a funny, entertaining, dark and clever production. Boggess was enjoyable on Broadway. Her singing was flawless, making each audience member fall more in love with the character. It is easy to see why the show is still in high demand after 25 years on Broadway.
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