The Phantom of the Opera is, quite simply, the most successful entertainment show of all time.
It has been more than thirty years since Andrew Lloyd Webber's groundbreaking musical premiered at Her Majesty's Theatre in the West End, the show is still running there, clocking up more than 10,000 performances and ranking third in the capital's all-time list behind Les Misérables and The Mousetrap. It has scooped Oliver and Tony awards, counts its revenues in the billions of pounds and sales of the soundtrack alone have topped 40 million copies.
Inspired by masters of the macabre Edgar Allen Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Frenchman Gaston Leroux created 'Le Fantôme de l'Opéra' a little over a century ago. However, it wasn't until the 1925 Hollywood movie version, starring Lon Chaney, that the public took notice of Leroux's tale of the ghost of the Paris Opera House. The musical opened in London in 1986 and the rest is, with no little understatement, theatreland history.
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