The Phantom of the Opera is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart with additions from Richard Stilgoe. Lloyd Webber and Stilgoe also wrote the musical’s book together. Based on the French novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, its plot revolves around a beautiful soprano, Christine Daaé, who becomes the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius.
The musical opened in London’s West End on October 9,1986, and on Broadway in 1988. It won the 1986 Olivier Award and the 1988 Tony Award for Best Musical, and Michael Crawford (in the title role) won the Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical. It is the longest running show in Broadway history by a wide margin, and celebrated its 10,000th Broadway performance on February 11, 2012, the first production ever to do so. It is the second longest-running West End musical, after Les Misérables, and the third longest-running West End show overall, after The Mousetrap.
With total estimated worldwide gross receipts of over $5.6 billion (the highest in history) and total Broadway gross of US$845 million (surpassed only by The Lion King), Phantom is the most financially successful entertainment event to date. By 2011 it had been seen by over 130 million people in 145 cities in 27 countries, and continues to play in both London and New York.