The Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera is officially headed into its 25th year at the Majestic Theatre, where it opened on January 26, 1988. To mark the latest milestone of the Great White Way’s longest running show, we assembled videos of four famous Broadway Phantoms, plus Gerard Butler in the movie adaptation. Once you look at these masked men in action, you’ll most definitely want to see the show again live!
Before winning Best Actor at the 1988 Tony Awards, original star Michael Crawford and leading lady Sarah Brightman (as Christine Daae) gave viewers a five-minute overview of the show in a medley that included the title song and “Music of the Night.” If you haven't seen this clip, you're in for a thrill.
Like many Phantom stars, Gaines debuted as Raoul before stepping up the title role, which he played more than 2,000 times. In 1994, he and longtime Christine Tracy Shayne took the stage at the Kennedy Center Honors to salute director Harold Prince.
McGillin holds the record for most performances as the Phantom (2,544) and had the honor of playing the role on January 9, 2006, when the musical became Broadway’s longest running show. Here, he sings “Music of the Night” on the Halloween 2008 edition of CBS' Early Show, with the Fifth Avenue Apple Store and Hello Kitty in the background.
Before he beefed up to become an action star, Gerard Butler donned the Phantom’s mask opposite Emmy Rossum as Christine and Broadway vet Patrick Wilson as a bewigged Raoul in a 2004 big-screen adaptation. The movie didn’t get a lot of love from the critics, but click on and judge this sexy rendition of “The Point of No Return” for yourself.
Last but not least, we bring you Broadway.com’s in-depth “Ask a Star” feature with Hugh Panaro, the current (and beloved) Phantom, who has a 20-year history with the show. Panaro will lead the cast when Phantom celebrates its 10,000th Broadway performance on February 11, 2012. If you haven’t seen him in this iconic role, get tickets now!