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The point of no return

By Alyssa Bender


If a theater noob polled a group of theater fans on what classic musicals she must see to jumpstart her theater education, you would be hard pressed to find a fan without The Phantom of the Opera on their list. The show, which opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London on 9 October 1986, has left an undeniable impact on London’s West End, Broadway, and theater in general. I can personally attest to listening to the original cast soundtrack growing up, seeing the 2004 movie with my theater friends as soon as it came out (and proceeding to listen and sing loudly to that soundtrack on every car drive for months), to finally seeing the Broadway production in 2007 and being absolutely blown away.

In honor of the anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera opening in London 26 years ago today, we thought a mini quiz was in order.

Phantom of the Opera is based on a novel. What year was it written?

According to the novel, what is the phantom’s real name?

Who were the original actors for the characters of Phantom, Christine Daaé, and Raoul in the London production?

Which actor in The Phantom of the Opera received the Laurence Olivier Award for best actor in a musical?

When did The Phantom of the Opera open on Broadway?

How many Tonys did the Broadway version win?

True or False: The Phantom of the Opera is the longest running show on Broadway.

Phantom of the Opera is based on a novel. What year was it written?
Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux was written in 1911.
(Brewer’s Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable)

According to the novel, what is the phantom’s real name?
Erik. The phantom’s story in the novel is the same as in the musical; he is a man with a hideous skull-like face who lives in seclusion beneath a Paris opera house.
(Brewer’s Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable)

Who were the original actors for the characters of Phantom, Christine Daaé, and Raoul in the London production?
Phantom — Michael Crawford
Christine — Sarah Brightman (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s wife at the time)
Raoul — Steve Barton
(The Oxford Companion to the American Musical)

Which actor in The Phantom of the Opera received the Laurence Olivier Award for best actor in a musical?
Michael Crawford. He also had a UK Top 10 hit with “The Music Of The Night.”
(Encyclopedia of Popular Music)

When did The Phantom of the Opera open on Broadway?
It opened in the Majestic Theatre on 26 January 1988. Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman, and Steve Barton reprised their roles in this production.
(Encyclopedia of Popular Music)

How many Tonys did the Broadway version win?
Seven: Best Musical, Actor (Michael Crawford), Featured Actress (Judy Kaye), Sets, Costumes, Lighting, and Director (Harold Prince).
(Encyclopedia of Popular Music)

True or False: The Phantom of the Opera is the longest running show on Broadway.
True. It passed Cats (another Andrew Lloyd Webber show) on 9 January 2006.
(Encyclopedia of Popular Music)

As a bonus, check out our Spotify playlist of The Phantom of the Opera songs from both the original London production and the 2004 movie. Do you have a favorite version? What’s your favorite song? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

All the answers to this quiz are sourced from Oxford Reference.

Alyssa Bender joined Oxford University Press as a marketing assistant in July 2011. She works on academic/trade history, literature, and music titles, and tweets @OUPMusic. Read her previous blog posts.

Oxford Reference is the home of Oxford’s quality reference publishing, bringing together over 2 million entries, many of which are illustrated, into a single cross-searchable resource. Newly relaunched with a brand new look and feel, and specifically designed to meet the needs and expectations of reference users, Oxford Reference provides quality, up-to-date reference content at the click of a button. Made up of two main collections, both fully integrated and cross-searchable, Oxford Reference couples Oxford’s trusted A-Z reference material with an intuitive design to deliver a discoverable, up-to-date, and expanding reference resource.

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Image credit: Her Majesty’s Theatre – The Phantom of the Opera. Photo by ZeroJanvier, 2005. Released to public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Recent Comments

  1. Raj Shah

    You’d think OUP would get the publication date of Leroux’s novel correct. It was first published in 1910 by Pierre Lafitte in France, not in 1911, though this is a common error. 1911 is the date of the publication of the first English translation.

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