Phantom of the Opera is a 1976 musical with book and lyrics by Ken Hill. It is the first musical adaptation of the novel The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, about the hideously disfigured Phantom’s amorous obsession with the magnificent, naive singer, Christine. Hill wrote the original English lyrics to the music of Verdi, Gounod, Offenbach, Mozart, Weber, Donizetti, and Boito.
Phantom of the Opera then emerged on the other side of the Atlantic in 1987 for its American premiere in St. Louis at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. This production starred Sal Mistretta as The Phantom – his performance won him the St. Louis Theatre Critics Award. A second US production was mounted in 1988 in San Francisco at the Theatre in the Square, produced by Jonathan Reinis.
The productions of Phantom of the Opera in St. Louis and San Francisco were so successful that Hill was asked to mount a national tour of the United States. Jonathan Reinis (who later produced Ken Hill The Invisible Man in London) formed Phantom Touring Company Inc. who acted as the producers for the tour, along with Electric Factory Concerts.
In 1991, Phantom of the Opera returned to the United Kingdom where it embarked on a national tour and then transferred to London West End. It opened at The Shaftsbury Theatre on December 18, 1991, with a similar cast to the 1984 production – Peter Straker was The Phantom and Christina Collier as Christine.
But despite positive reviews, the West End production did poorly at the box office and was forced to close earlier than expected, on April 11, 1992. However, the production was nominated for two Olivier Awards (equivalent of the Broadway Tony Awards) for Best New Musical and Best Director of a Musical, the latter of which placed Ken Hill against Simon Callow and Judi Dench.
The full cast of the 1991 Shaftesbury Theatre production was as follows -; Peter Straker [the Phantom],Christina Collier [Christine Daae], Reginald Marsh [Richard], Steven Pacey [Raoul],Toni Palmer ,Michael McLean [Faust], Haluk Bilginer [Mephistopheles/the Persian],Gary Lyons ,Richard Tate , Kate Harbour ,Tracy Gillman , Jacqueline Barron [Lady in box/Lisette],Quentin McLain [Stagehand],Richard Shilling [Stagehand].
In the summer of 1992, the show toured Japan and the Philippines with the following cast changes -; Frank Ellis ,Garth Bardsley [Raoul], Michae N. Harbour Ruth Madoc [Madame Giry],Grace Kinirons [Lady in Box/Lisette],Steve Bennion [Stagehand],Martin Croft .
A new song was added to the show in 1992, especially for the first Japanese Tour, based upon an aria by Antonin Dvorak. The title of it was “All Of My Dreams Faded Suddenly” and is sung by the character Christine. It replaced “Love Has Flown, Never Returning,” but not before the latter had been recorded onto the West End cast recording of Phantom of the Opera. It still remains there, and the newer song was never recorded and released officially.
Since 1992, Phantom of the Opera has toured the world, in countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Germany, Japan, Korea and the United Kingdom. The most recent UK tour took place in 2000/2001 and was produced by Chris Moreno at the Theatre Royal, Lincoln. It has been said that modern productions of Phantom of the Opera tend to place emphasis on the camp side of the show, sometimes poking fun at the Lloyd Webber version.
The official cast recording of the show, was released in 1993 by D Sharp Records. It featured the entire West End (Shaftesbury Theatre) cast, and includes all the songs in the show. It was also later released by two other record labels; Stetson Records (an off-shoot of The Stetson Group), and BMG. The latter versions of the CD were mainly sold in Japan (in Japanese packaging), Australia and New Zealand, on national tours.
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