Phantom of the Opera celebrates 12,000 performances

Last night the long-running West End production of The Phantom of the Opera celebrated 12,000 performances at Her Majesty's Theatre. The show originally opened on 9 October 1986, following previews from 27 September 1986 and is currently taking bookings to 26 March 2016.

It is estimated that the musical has been seen by more than 140 million people worldwide and the total gross is now in excess of $6 billion. The box office revenues are higher than any film or stage play in history, including "Titanic", "ET" and "Star Wars". It has been seen in 34 countries and 157 cities and played in 14 different languages. In addition to London, The Phantom of the Opera is also currently showing in New York, Hamburg, Budapest, Prague and on tour in the US. It will open in Helsinki and Guangzhou in September.

The show recently announced cast changes, with John Owen-Jones returning to the role of 'The Phantom' from 7 September 2015. Owen-Jones recently played the part in the UK tour and has played the role more times than any other actor in the West End production's history. He was also the first British actor to play 'The Phantom' on both the West End and Broadway. Geronimo Rauch is the currently playing 'The Phantom', until 4 September 2015.

The production is directed by Harold Prince and features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart. Based on the novel by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera traces the tragic love story of a beautiful opera singer and a young composer shamed by his physical appearance into a shadowy existence beneath the majestic Opera Paris House.

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