On 15 June 2019, The Phantom of the Opera, the world’s most popular musical and the longest running show in Broadway history, made its Malaysian debut at Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur. The Andrew Lloyd Webber blockbuster has won over 70 major theatre awards, including four Olivier Awards, an Evening Standard Award, seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards and five Outer Critic Circle Awards.
Based on the classic novel Le Fantômede L’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera tells the tale of a disfigured musical genius known only as the Phantom who haunts the depths of the Paris Opera House. Mesmerised by the talent and beauty of a young soprano, Christine, the Phantom lures her as his protégé and falls fiercely in love with her. Unaware of Christine’s love for Raoul, the Phantom’s obsession sets the scene for a dramatic turn of events where jealousy, madness and passions collide.
Arguably Broadway’s brightest hit, The Phantom of the Opera boasts 130 cast, crew and orchestra members, jaw-dropping scenery, breathtaking special effects and more than 230 costumes by the late international designer Maria Björnson. The musical also contains some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most famous and stirring music, including The Phantom of the Opera, Think of Me and Music of the Night.
But enough about what you already know about The Phantom of the Opera. Here are some “phun phacts” you were probably unaware of:
1. The dazzling replica of the Paris Opera House chandelier is three metres wide and weighs a whopping 308 kilograms.
2. 2,230 metres of fabric are used for the drapes, with 900 of them specially dyed. The tasselled fringes measure 226 metres and they are made up of 250 kilograms of dyed wool interwoven with 5,000 wooden beads imported from India. Each one is handmade and combed through with an Afro comb.
3. There are 118 cast, crew and orchestra members directly involved in each performance.
4. Each performance has 230 costumes, 82 automated cues, 22 scene changes, 201 candles, and 29 gas lights.
5. The Phantom’s make-up takes one hour to put on and 10 minutes to take off. The face is moisturised, closely shaved and the prosthetics are fitted, setting immediately, before two wigs, two radio microphones, and two contact lenses (one white and one clouded) are placed.
6. The technical elements for The Phantom of the Opera are sourced from five continents.
7. The show uses 44 units of 30-kilogram bottles (or 1,320 kilograms) of liquid CO2 for low fog and mausoleum bursts per eight-show week, as well as four low fog machines, two hazers and four mini hazers on the travelator.
8. The Phantom of the Opera travels with a total weight of 143,140 tons of equipment and scenery.
9. The production takes under 100 hours to set up with a total of 6,496 crewman hours while the load-out takes 36 hours with a total of 3,420 crewman hours.
The Phantom of the Opera in Kuala Lumpur stars Jonathan Roxmouth and Meghan Picerno as the Phantom and Christine respectively. The internationally acclaimed Broadway and West End production will continue to whisk fans away with the Music of the Night from now till 7 July 2019 at the prestigious Istana Budaya.
Get your tickets here.