'Phantom' opens tonight at Pantages

HOLLYWOOD - Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" will return to the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood for the first time in more than a decade when it opens tonight.The engagement marks the opening of Broadway/L.A.'s 2009 season at the Pantages Theatre, where "Wicked" had been in residence the past two years. With worldwide grosses estimated at more than $5 billion, "The Phantom of the Opera" is the most successful entertainment venture of the 20th Century, surpassing such blockbuster films as "Titanic," "Lord of the Rings," "Jurassic Park" and "Star Wars." The winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, "Phantom" has been seen by more than 80 million people in 124 cities in 25 countries. Worldwide, the show consistently plays to larger audiences and in longer engagements than any other musical in history. On Jan. 9, 2006, "Phantom" became the longest-running show in Broadway history, surpassing the record-holding run of 7,485 performances achieved by "Cats." Based on the classic novel "Le Fantome de l'Opera" by Gaston Leroux, "Phantom" 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. "Phantom" had its world premiere on Oct. 9, 1986 at Her Majesty's Theatre in London, winning every major British theater award including the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards. The New York production opened on Jan. 26, 1988 with a then-record advance of $18 million. The musical went on to sweep the 1988 Tony Awards, winning seven. "Phantom" features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Charles Hart and additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe. The performance schedule for "The Phantom of the Opera" is Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Tickets are priced between $29.50 and $85. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets or online at www.broadwayla.org. ********** Published: January 23, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 40