London's 'Phantom' Peter Jöback to Star in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA on Broadway from April 29
The longest-running show in Broadway history, Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, directed by Harold Prince and produced by Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Theatre Company, Inc., will welcome West End star and Platinum-selling Swedish recording star Peter Jöback to the New York cast this summer. Mr. Jöback will assume the title role for a limited engagement from Monday, April 29 through Saturday, August 24, 2012.
Mr. Jöback took part in the festivities last night, Saturday, January 26, when PHANTOM became the first Broadway show to celebrate 25 Years - an unprecedented feat in Broadway history. This milestone was marked by a Special Gala Performance at The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street), the musical's home for its entire run. This historic evening featured an elaborate curtain call with remarks from producer Cameron Mackintosh and director Harold Prince, a specially-taped video greeting from composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (in London and unable to attend due to a back procedure) and original West End and Broadway star Sarah Brightman (their first joint interview in 30 years) and on-stage post-show performances from current stars Hugh Panaro and Sierra Boggess, joined by international 'Phantoms' John Owen Jones, Ramin Karimloo and Mr. Jöback. The evening also featured a Mayor's Proclamation naming January 26 "The Phantom of the Opera Day" as presented by Katherine Oliver, Commissioner of New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment. Among the evening's audience were hundreds of additional alumni cast of the musical as well as more than 200 theater-goers who won tickets through an online sweepstakes on the PHANTOM Facebook page - as a Thank You to the musical's loyal "Phans." The festivities at the theater were followed by an exclusive and lavish gala at The New York Public Library.
Mr. Joback steps in this summer for current, acclaimed Phantom Hugh Panaro, who was specifically chosen to play 'The Phantom' for New York's 25th Anniversary. Mr. Panaro's long association with the musical stretches back to 1989, when he first played the role of 'Raoul' for almost 1,000 performances. He was later invited to take over the starring role, which he's since done in three separate engagements for over 1,900 performances and counting. His combined PHANTOM performance count in both roles is nearly 3,000 times. Mr. Panaro will return as "The Man Behind the Mask" on Monday, August 26.
Mr. Jöback starred in the title role in the London production of PHANTOM in 2012, but his association with the musical stretches back to London's 25th Anniversary celebrations at Royal Albert Hall in October 2011, when he was chosen to perform as one of the International Phantoms alongside Sarah Brightman during the spectacular curtain call. The event is available on CD by Decca and a DVD of the event was released by Universal Home Entertainment.
On the London stage, Peter Jöback starred as 'The Phantom' last year from March 19 through September 1. Also on the West End, he's played 'Chris' in Cameron Mackintosh's original production of Miss Saigon, and created the role of 'Michael' in Mr. Mackintosh's The Witches of Eastwick, both at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Mr. Jöback created the role of 'Robert' in the Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson musical Kristina från Duvemåla (The Emigrants), earning a Swedish Tony Award. He also starred as the 'Emcee' in Cabaret in Copenhagen and Sweden, receiving a second Swedish Tony Award.
Mr. Jöback is a platinum-selling Swedish recording artist and performer. He has been awarded gold and platinum discs for all of his release,s as well as several Grammy nominations. He has sold over one million albums, including the best-selling Swedish albums of both 2006 and 2008. His most recent album La Vie, L'Amour, La Mort was inspired by classic French chansons. During a stint as a resident of Manhattan's East Village, Peter recorded the album East Side Stories, a personal selection of modern classics. Peter finished 2012 selling out arenas with the tour I Love Musicals, featuring guest performers from Broadway and the West End.
In other principal casting news, current leading lady Sierra Boggess will conclude her heralded, strictly-limited engagement as 'Christine' on Saturday, March 2. Current 'Christine' Alternate Samantha Hill will assume the role as the Principal 'Christine' beginning the week of March 4. (The Principal 'Christine' generally plays six performances a week with the 'Christine' Alternate playing two.) Ms. Hill made her debut with the Broadway cast in November 2012.
The same week that Ms. Hill takes over as 'Christine,' international PHANTOM star Marni Raab will return as the 'Christine' Alternate. Ms. Raab has played 'Christin'e across the country and around the world and has served as both the Principal and Alternate 'Christines' in New York. Ms. Raab's long, unique history with the show dates back to 2001, including numerous engagements with the U.S. Tour, originating the role of 'Christine' for the Asian World Tour and playing 'Christine' on Broadway over 650 times, making her Broadway's fifth longest-running 'Christine.'
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA became the longest-running show in Broadway history on January 9, 2006 with its 7,486th performance (surpassing the previous record-holder Cats, also by Andrew Lloyd Webber and also produced by Mackintosh). Incredibly, since breaking that record, PHANTOM has played both an additional 7 years and nearly 3,000 performances - which by itself would be a smash hit run for a Broadway musical. It has just become the first show to celebrate 25 Years - an unprecedented milestone in Broadway history - on January 26, 2013.
On Broadway, since its debut on January 26, 1988, The Phantom of the Opera has grossed over $888 million. Even now - as it celebrates its 25th Anniversary on Broadway - it is consistently among Broadway's highest-grossing shows and remains a box office champ. Earlier this year, the production shattered the house record at The Majestic by having its best weekly gross in its entire 25-year history. Total attendance is now over 15 million and it continues to play with no end in sight.
The musical's international success - equally staggering - is represented by total worldwide grosses estimated at over $5.6 billion. This colossal figure makes PHANTOM the most successful entertainment venture of all time, with revenues higher than any film or stage play in history, including Titanic, Star Wars and far surpassing the world's highest-grossing film Avatar (at $2.8 billion). Worldwide, over 65,000 performances have been seen by 130 million people in 28 countries and 148 cities in 13 languages.
The flagship London production, which opened in 1986 at Her Majesty's Theatre, celebrated 25 years in October 2011. That milestone was celebrated with a special production at London's Royal Albert Hall starring two notable PHANTOM alumni, former London Phantom Ramin Karimloo and former U.S. Christine Sierra Boggess (star of the Vegas production and Broadway star of The Little Mermaid), to tremendous acclaim. Earlier this year, a live recording was released on CD by Decca and a DVD of the event was released by Universal Home Entertainment.
There are currently six productions around the world: There are currently six productions around the world: the flagship London production (26 Years and counting), New York, Budapest (Hungary), Kyoto (Japan), Seoul (Korea) and Cameron Mackintosh's all-new production of the musical which is currently enjoying a highly-acclaimed, record-breaking UK National Tour, which is planned to come to the U.S. in the not-too-distant future.
The show has won more than 70 major theater awards, including seven 1988 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and three Olivier Awards in the West End. The original cast recording, with over 40 million copies sold worldwide, is the best-selling cast recording of all time. In September 2010, student productions of PHANTOM started being licensed through R&H Theatricals, and so far have been performed at hundreds of high schools and colleges across the U.S. and in Canada.
Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L'Opéra by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is produced by Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Theatre Company, Inc., has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is directed by Harold Prince. Lyrics are by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe) and the book is by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The Phantom of the Opera has production design by the late Maria Björnson, lighting by Andrew Bridge and sound design by Mick Potter with original sound by Martin Levan. Musical staging and choreography is by Gillian Lynne. Orchestrations are by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA currently stars Hugh Panaro in the title role with Sierra Boggess as 'Christine' and Kyle Barisich as 'Raoul'. The musical co-stars Jim Weitzer ('Monsieur André'), Tim Jerome ('Monsieur Firmin'), Michele McConnell ('Carlotta'), Ellen Harvey ('Madame').
Photo Credit: Michael Le Poer Trench