Visit London Blog » the phantom of the opera Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Best of London Theatre: 2014 Olivier Awards Nominees Announced Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:24:20 +0000 Olivier Awards

The best of London’s theatre has been whittled down ahead of the Olivier Awards ceremony next month, with new musicals leading the way in the nominations revealed today.

New musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has gained seven nominations, while fellow newcomers The Book of Mormon and The Scottsboro Boys have six apiece.

Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka with Jack Costello as Charlie and cast members. Photo by Helen MaybanksIt’s not just new shows that are hogging the limelight however, with the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along also doing well with the voters, with seven nominations to its name. Nominees for the coveted BBC Radio 2 Audience Award include West End hits Les Misérables, Matilda the Musical, The Phantom of the Opera and Wicked.

Among the notable names up for individual gongs are Jude Law for his role as Henry V and Judi Dench as Alice in Peter and Alice, both at the Noel Coward Theatre. Renowned baritone Plácido Domingo also gains a nomination for his portrayal of the title character in Verdi’s Nabucco at the Royal Opera House.

The awards, which are run by the Society of London Theatre, recognise the best productions and performances of theatre shows, opera and dance over the previous year. This year’s glitzy awards gala will take place on 13 April at the Royal Opera House.

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10 Fun Facts About The Phantom of the Opera Fri, 22 Nov 2013 15:25:15 +0000 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.

Find ticket prices for The Phantom of the Opera here


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Top 10 Long-Running London Theatre Shows Wed, 22 May 2013 10:00:41 +0000 Some West-End shows come and go, while others become a permanent fixture on London’s theatre scene. To celebrate London Theatre Month, we’ve compiled a list of the longest-running plays and musicals that are currently playing in London’s West End.

The Mousetrap: 61 years
The Mousetrap is the world’s longest-running play, captivating London audiences since 1952. Packed with suspense, the classic whodunit takes place in a remote English country house hotel during a snow storm.

Les Miserables: 28 years
Now in its 28th year, Les Misérables is the longest running musical in the world.  This global stage sensation has been seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries. Set in 19th-century France, Les Mis follows the plight of an ex-convict turned mayor who is hunted for decades by a ruthless policeman.

Phantom of the OperaThe Phantom of the Opera: 27 years
The Phantom of the Opera has reigned at Her Majesty’s Theatre for a whopping 27 years. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s epic musical, which opened on 9 October 1986,  tells the tale of a disfigured composer who terrorises the Paris Opera in an attempt to make his protégé a leading lady.

The Woman in Black: 24 years
The Woman in Black has been terrifying audiences since 1989, making it the second longest-running play in the history of the West End. Based on Susan Hill’s eponymous novel, the spooky show sees a malevolent ghost haunting a small English town, bringing devastation to the lives of anyone who lays eyes on it.

The Lion King: 14 years
Still a roaring success, The Lion King is celebrating its 14th year at London’s Lyceum Theatre. Bursting with colour and brilliant songs, the Disney-movie-turned-musical sees fearless lion cub Simba making his epic journey to fulfil his destiny as king of the lions. The Lion King is one of five musicals to play for 10 or more years on both Broadway and the West End.

Mamma Mia: 14 years
Mamma Mia is now well into its second decade, after first opening in the West End in 1999. Based on the catchy tunes of Swedish pop quartet ABBA and set on a Greek island paradise, this feel-good show follows a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father.

We Will Rock You: 11 years
Mega-musical We Will Rock You has been a permanent fixture at the Dominion Theatre since 2002. Based on the songs of rock legends Queen, the show is set in a futuristic world where rock music has been banned.

Stomp: 10 years
Celebrating its 10th year in London, Stomp has been kept fresh with new routines, choreography and music. As its title suggests, talented performers use everything from zippo lighters to bin lids to hammer out a feel-good rhythm.

Billy Elliot: 8 years
Billy Elliot has been dazzling London’s West End since 2005 with its heart-warming tale of a young boy who struggles against the odds to fulfil his dream of becoming a ballet dancer. The all-singing all-dancing musical features an acclaimed score by Elton John.

Wicked: 7 years
Wicked made its West End debut seven years ago in 2006. Still going strong, the show welcomed its five millionth audience member last month. The award-winning musical tells the story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two young trainee witches who meet at sorcery school.

Read more about all London’s theatre shows at

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Thursday Theatre News: Pop Goes The Musical, Hampstead Downstairs and the Open Air Theatre Thu, 16 Aug 2012 17:00:04 +0000

A new charity initiative was launched this week that sees pop stars taking to the West End stage for special encores. Pop Goes The Musical raises money for Children in Need by offering special £80 tickets for fab West End shows, which are then followed by special performances by pop stars.

Tickets can be purchased exclusively at and include a top price seat, signed programme, Pudsey bear toy, complementary drink and access to a VIP after show reception hosted by the famous bear himself.

Hampstead Downstairs has announced its autumn season this week. Three plays, Brain, Blue Sky and Ignorance will be produced by the theatre; both Brain and Ignorance are new shows, the first by writer Rona Munro; the second by Steve Waters. The space was created for new writers to showcase their work, so if you’re a fan of seeing and feeding back on new theatre, book now.

If you’re looking ahead to theatre production in London for the summer 2013, I’ve got some great news from the Open Air Theatre. Their summer season will contain a production of Harper Lee’s American classic To Kill A Mockingbird alongside the much-loved musical The Sound Of Music. Christopher Sergel’s adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Mockingbird will play from 16 May to 15 June. And the Von Trapp family will be encouraging you to Climb Every Mountain and consider your Favourite Things from 25 July to 7 September. These are just two of the four shows on offer at the venue next summer.

London Theatre Casting News:

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Thursday Theatre News: 2012, Thandie Newton, Karen Gillan and David Suchet Thu, 28 Jul 2011 17:08:28 +0000 This week seems to have been dominated by news of London 2012. And London’s theatreland has been getting in on the action too. More than 20 shows have released tickets for the Olympic period, to ensure audiences can book theatre tickets if they’re coming to town for the Olympics or the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

For a full list of shows that have extended their booking into 2012, check out the Official London Theatre website.

Edward Hall’s all-male theatre company Propeller have also announced their 2012 plans. They’ll perform their Shakespearean pairing of Henry V and The Winter’s Tale at the Hampstead Theatre from 4 to 21 July.

Before we get to that all-important Olympic year, there’s still exciting casting news to think about. This week’s announcements include:

  • Hollywood star Thandie Newton, who’ll appear in Ariel Dorfman’s Death And The Maiden at the Comedy Theatre from October
  • Doctor Who star Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) is making her professional stage debut in Inadmissible Evidence at the Donmar, also in October
  • Another debut, this time from Hannah Spearritt (who you’ll know from Primeval, or if you’re my age, S Club 7!) in The Belle’s Stratagem at the Southwark Playhouse from September
  • And finally, a real favourite of mine, David Suchet’s going to be back on the London stage in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night, at the Apollo Theatre. You’ll have to wait til next April for that one, I’m afraid.

Last of all if you’re a fan of London theatre: don’t forget Kids Week, next month!

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The Scariest Theatre Shows in London: Ghost Stories, The Woman in Black and more… Mon, 25 Oct 2010 08:30:10 +0000 How much can a play affect you… surely not enough to really frighten you? That’s what I thought before going to see Ghost Stories and The Woman in Black recently. These shows claim to be the “scariest” currently on in London… and both succeeded in scaring me, but in different ways.

The Woman in Black is currently celebrating its 21st year in London’s West End; the rather dingy building and dangerously intimate Fortune Theatre has become its home. The performance combines theatrical illusion and trickery with a disturbing narrative, scaring even the coolest of hearts.

Ghost Stories was written only recently and is more contemporary in every way. The production feels more like an experiment in fear, presenting archetypal myths and using clever technology to make them come alive. As you take your seat, there is no light or programme sellers to welcome you in, instead the dimly lit Duke of Yorks Theatre is haunted with a soundtrack of drips and rumbles and eerie screeches. There is no interval, which builds up tension and you are warned: if you leave the theatre during the performance you will be unable to return.

What both shows have in common is a real talent for inducing terror through all the senses. Employing mostly sound and sight, but also touch and smell as scare tactics.  As for taste, I know I left both theatres with the taste of fear in my mouth.

More spooky shows to see in London:

Halloween is only a week away, so book your tickets to London’s scariest shows now!

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Have Your Say About London Theatre in the Olivier Awards Thu, 11 Feb 2010 09:53:40 +0000 Yes, there might be a lot of buzz about the Oscars around at the moment, but here in London, theatre-lovers like me are more interested in the Oliviers!

On 21 March at the Grosvenor House Hotel, the Laurence Olivier Awards 2010 will be announced.

The annual award ceremony is the most prestigious in London theatre, and the highlight of the theatrical year in London.

You can read a full list of the runners and riders on the Official London Theatre website. The judging panel consists of dedicated theatregoers and experts.

But there’s an exciting new award for 2010 where YOU can vote for the winner. The Audience Award goes to the long-running London show with the most votes from the following shortlist:

Vote for your favourite, and you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win four tickets to the winning show. You’ve got until 5pm on 17 March to have your say.

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Happy Birthday, Phantom of the Opera! Fri, 09 Oct 2009 13:00:42 +0000 The Phantom of the OperaThe Phantom of the Opera opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London on 9 October 1986; 23 years ago today.

Lots has changed since then: who would’ve thought you could follow The Phantom on twitter when Michael Crawford first created the part in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s gothic musical?

Love it or hate it, The Phantom of the Opera, based on the French novel by Gaston Leroux, is one of the most successful “entertainment entities” in history.

For a youthful 23-year-old, these figures are pretty staggering:

  • Seen by more than 100 million people
  • Translated into 15 languages
  • Performed in more than 25 different countries
  • Won 50 awards worldwide

And what better birthday present could a show wish for than an eagerly anticipated sequel? Yesterday, details about the forthcoming Love Never Dies were announced.

You can watch the press launch online on the official Love Never Dies website.

And if that whets your appetite for more, book your tickets to see Love Never Dies when it opens in London next year.

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