The Phantom of the Opera

Her Majesty's Theatre
Haymarket, London

Previewed: 30 September 1986
Opened: 9 October 1986
Booking up to: 4 April 2020

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Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus

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Theatre seating plan

Show times
Monday at 7.30pm
Tuesday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 7.30pm
Thursday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday no show

Runs 2 hours and 30 minutes including one interval

Seat prices
£? to £? (plus booking fees if applicable)

The Phantom of the Opera

Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic stage musical The Phantom of the Opera in London now in its record-breaking 28th year.

With some of the most lavish sets, costumes and special effects ever to have been created for the stage, this haunting musical 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 Paris Opera House. See the legendary original production of The Phantom of the Opera in London at Her Majesty's Theatre.

Based on Gaston Leroux's classic novel of mystery and suspense Le Fantôme de L'Opéra, this award-winning musical has woven its magical spell over audiences in over 60 cities worldwide. Adapted for the stage by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber and featuring music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart and additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe. This production is directed by Hal Prince with choreography and musical staging by Gillian Lynne and set and costume designs by Maria Björnson.

"Sing once again with me, Our strange duet. My power over you, Grows stronger yet. And though you turn from me, to glance behind. The phantom of the opera is there, Inside your mind."

Since opening in London's West End in 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Phantom of the Opera has been produced in 149 cities across more than 25 countries and has been seen by over 100 million people worldwide. The Original Cast Recording featuring Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman and Steve Barton was the first in British musical history to enter the music charts at Number 1 since when album sales have exceeded 40 million worldwide. The big-screen version of the stage musical was released worldwide in 2004. Altogether, Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera is the most successful single piece of entertainment of all time.

Nine months prior to opening in the West End a single of the title song was released sung by Steve Harley and Sarah Brightman which peaked at Number Seven during its seven weeks in the UK pop charts. Steve Harley also auditioned before the director Hal Prince for the lead part in the musical: "They offered me the part, the contract was made and for a couple of months I was set to do it", he said. But, after three months of rehearsals he was replaced by Michael Crawford. Harley said: "What happened is something of a mystery to me." It was thought, though, at the time that the legacy of childhood polio, which had left him with a limp, caused doubts about his ability with the physical rigours of performing the part night-after-night.

The lyricist Charles Hart said regarding working on this stage musical that: "Andrew is really very easy to work with: he's a musical structuralist, which meant that most of the music was written before I came along so there was already a very strong framework. We still argued over extra syllables or extra notes but it was like bargaining at an auction and Andrew was very good at letting me win sometimes. If all you know of the Phantom are the various Hollywood movies, then it's quite a surprise to go back to the book, but we're not treating it like a BBC classic serial either. Sometimes I wish I'd had more time to work on this, but good things don't always emerge from writing slowly: in the end I'll have about four months, which is I suppose a crash course in lyric writing, but if it doesn't work I'll go back to playing the piano in the pit. The shadows of Andrew's other partners haven't hung too heavily over me, though I think Tim Rice opened a lot of doors for all English lyrists by showing that a lyric didn't have to be four lines long and sound banal: it could be wordy and witty and contemporary, though what we're looking for in Phantom are the big emotional moments. There are echoes here of Rigoletto and Beaty and the Beast and Hunchback of Notre Dame, all packed with images of dark and light, hell and heaven, good and evil."

Hal Prince, who directs this show, said: "It's a show I couldn't resist. The minute Andrew Lloyd Webber mentioned it, the minute I heard a couple of melodies, I thought I had to do it. It's very intelligent material, a very intelligent show. It's not a potboiler. We're not doing Count Dracula. It's not sending it up. It's certainly intended to be psychologically - and I hate to be pretentious about it - layered. There's a lot going on in the character, and I think it addresses very seriously this whole business of physical deformity and how we respond to it, and how tragic our initial revulsion is, and how dead wrong. It's a romance; it's also pretty erotic," adding that the score is "very rich, very lush, very full of ballads, beautiful ones I think."

The Phantom of the Opera in London at Her Majesty's Theatre previewed from 30 September 1986 and opened on 9 October 1986.