Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera is one of London’s longest running musicals, reigning at Her Majesty’s Theatre for a whopping 27 years. Geronimo Rauch recently joined the cast as the new Phantom, the disfigured composer who terrorises the Paris Opera in an attempt to make his protégé a leading lady. Fresh from his success as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, Rauch is an Argentinian singer and actor. To celebrate the casting of the new Phantom, we’ve compiled a list of 10 fun facts about the famous musical.
1. The Phantom of the Opera has been played to more than 130 million people in 30 countries in 151 cities around the world with an estimated gross of $5.6 billion worldwide. The box office revenues are higher than any film or stage play in history, including Titanic, ET, Star Wars and Avatar
2. The musical has played for more than 26 years with over 11,250 performances at Her Majesty’s Theatre
3. The show has been performed in 13 different languages: English, French, German, Japanese, Danish, Polish, Swedish, Castilian, Hungarian, Dutch, Korean, Portuguese, Mexican Spanish
4. Won 70 major theatre awards including three Olivier Awards, an Evening Standard Award, seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards and five Outer Critic Circle Awards
5. Original cast recording was the first in British musical history to enter the charts at number one. Album sales now exceed 40 million worldwide.
6. The dazzling replica of the Paris Opera House chandelier is made up of 6,000 beads consisting of 35 beads to each string. It is three metres wide and weighs one ton. The touring version falls at 2.5 metres per second. The original version was built by five people in four weeks.
7. The Phantom’s make-up takes two hours to put on and 30 minutes to take off. The actor’s face is moisturised, closely shaved and the prosthetics are fitted, setting immediately, before two wigs, two radio microphones and two contact lenses (one white and one clouded) are placed.
8. 2,230 metres of fabric are used for the drapes, 900 of which are specially dyed. The tasselled fringes measure 226 metres. They are made up of 250 kilos of dyed wool interwoven with 5,000 wooden beads imported from India. Each one is handmade and combed through with an Afro comb.
9. There are 130 cast, crew and orchestra members directly involved in each performance
10. Each performance has 230 costumes, 14 dressers, 120 automated cues and 22 scene changes. To create atmosphere, 281 candles, 250 kg of dry ice, and 10 fog and smoke machines are used.
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