The West End cast were joined on stage by the show's creator and producer Andrew Lloyd Webber and Michael Crawford, who originated the title role in the West End in 1986, following the show to Broadway in 1988 and Los Angeles a year later, in the process winning the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical and a Tony Award for Best Performance in a Musical.
It was recently announced that Crawford will embark on another project with Andrew Lloyd Webber, playing another title role in The Wizard of Oz when the show opens on 1 March 2011 (previews from 7 February).
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The Phantom of the Opera celebrated its 23rd birthday at Her Majesty’s theatre on 9 October 2008. In 1999, it was named the 20th century's most successful money-making show, dwarfing even blockbuster Hollywood films like Titanic at the box office. In December 2004, Lloyd Webber released the £55 million big screen version, directed by Joel Schumacher.
Phantom was joined in the West End by its sequel, Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies, which opened at the Adelphi on 9 March 2010 (previews from 20 February). It was announced last week that the production will open in Australia in May 2011, with a Toronto production also mooted prior to a Broadway transfer.
Worldwide, Phantom has now been seen in 144 cities in 27 countries, played to over 100 million people, grossed over £1.7 billion and won 50 major awards, including three Oliviers in London. The production is directed by Harold Prince and produced by Mackintosh and the Really Useful Group. It’s currently booking until February 2011.
The cast is currently led by Stephen John Davis as the Phantom, Sofia Escobar as Christine and Will Barratt as Raoul. They are joined by Wendy Ferguson (Carlotta), Barry James (Monsieur Firmin), Gareth Snook (Monsieur André), Cheryl McAvoy (Madame Giry), Rohan Tickell (Ubaldo Piangi), Anna Forbes (Meg Giry), Annatt Bass (Page) and Kate Batter (Madame Firmin).