Why Phantom Of The Opera’s 30th Anniversary Is Great News For Dancers

by Michael Mahany | 1/26/2018 5:50 PM

The cast of Phantom Of The Opera. Photo Credit: Playbill


Tonight, January 26th, Broadway’s Phantom Of The Opera celebrates it’s 30th birthday on Broadway! This never before seen feat, is EXCELLENT news for the dance community, because during Phantom’s thirty year— and counting— run, the musical has employed thousands of dancers and performers all over the world.


Two nights ago, the current cast, crew, creative team, alums of the show, and fans celebrated the landmark performance with a post-show party at another iconic New York landmark, the famed Rainbow Room, atop The GE Building at 30 Rockefeller Center.


Phantom Of The Opera’s milestone is one for the books; no show in the history of Broadway has ever run for 30 years. In fact, it has eight years on its next closest competitor, the 1996 revival of Chicago, for the longest run.


Phantom Of The Opera originally opened on London’s West End in 1986, before it’s transfer across the pond to Broadway in 1988. On Broadway, it was nominated for ten TONY® awards, including one for choreographer Gillian Lynne, and won seven.


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Phantom has also been produced in over 13 languages, has been see by over 130 million people, had productions on almost every continent on the planet, a feature film, a sequel musical: Love Never Dies, a Las Vegas Spectacular production, and grossed close to six billion dollars world-wide.



Former Phantom, Ron Bohmer, attended the evening’s events with his wife, Sandra Joseph— who also happens to be the actress holding the record as Broadway’s longest running Christine Daaé— and spoke with Dance Network about his time with the musical.


“’I’m enormously grateful to be a part of Phantom’s unprecedented legacy. Being at the celebration with so many old fiends and artists who’ve inspired me from the time I was kid off the bus from Cincinnati— I had to keep pinching myself,” Bohmer said.


Sandra Joseph and Ron Bohmer. Photo Credit: Broadwayworld


“When you play the role [of the Phantom], you’re just deep in it, doing the work to make it the one of a kind experience audiences expect and deserve,” Bohmer continued. “But seeing it all again from the outside, it feels like dream, a miraculous dream where you can’t believe you’re seeing your own life intersect with the ‘DaVinci’s’ of theatre. It inspires such awe and gratitude.”


The role of the Phantom is considered one of Broadway’s most demanding, both physically and vocally.


Each production of Phantom employs not only a company of musical theatre performers, but at least six specialized ‘Corps d’Ballet’ dancers and the swings who cover both the ballet dancers and the rest of the ensemble. *Fun fact, the Broadway production alone has gone through almost 8,000 pairs of pointe shoes since the show began.


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Because of Phantom’s enormous world-wide success, thousands of performers and dancers have had the opportunity to work together. More than a few relationships have bloomed between company members in the various productions, and Bohmer spoke of his chance encounter meeting his wife, Sandra, in the road company of the musical.


Sandra Joseph (Broadway’s record breaking 10 year leading lady) and I met on the stage of the Kennedy Center when I joined the National tour as the Phantom. She was their Christine and because [I immediately went into] rehearsal, we very nearly met as our characters first— minus some opening remarks before diving into our first scene. We’ve been married for 15 years, so clearly the power of these 2 characters was a gateway drug for us!”


Sandra Joseph is also an award winning author as well as performer. Her second book, Unmasking What Matters— 10 Life Lessons From 10 Years On Broadway, also happened to premier on the same day as the 30th anniversary celebration. The book quickly became the #1 international Best-seller on Amazon on its first day of release.


Ellen Harvey as Madame Giry. Photo Credit: EllenHarvey.net


Ellen Harvey, an actress known for her work as Madame Giry— the head of the Opera’s ballet department in Phantom— as well as Broadway’s Present Laughter, How To Succeed…, Thou Shalt Not, and The Music Man spoke with Dance Network about the importance of live performance


“Celebrating Phantom's 30th was an enormous reminder of the importance of live theater.  Phantom is one of those shows that has been people's first exposure to a Broadway musical. Whether it was on Broadway or on tour, I’m also reminded of the enormous amount of talent it takes both onstage and off to create that magic every night,” Harvey said. 


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Harvey talked about her time celebrating at the post-performance party.


“I saw my dresser who has been dressing Madame Giry's the WHOLE 30 years, I saw my conductor, my stage managers, and I saw many old friends.  My heart swelled with pride because I am part of something that is theater history.  It was an honor, [then], to have been part of the 25th Anniversary cast and I am forever a part of the Phantom family.  I am very lucky.”


The cast taking their bows after the 30th anniversary performance. Photo credit: Phantom Of The Opera.


For dancers, the fact that a musical which has employed so many performers over the course of its lifetime is still running strong with no intention of closing, is truly incredible news. 30 years of shows and a dozen or more productions has provided thousands and thousands of jobs, and that, in and of itself, is quite remarkable.


Here’s to 30 more!

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