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Today in My History

2000:  Thank You, Charles Shultz
2001:  Finding My Inner Swan
2002:  It's Marn's Fault
2003:  Judy and I Thank You
2004:  Glass Half Full
2005:  Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries
2006Pass the Hot Coffee, Pulleeze

2007: If These Shadows Have Offended

Carnival of Follies

Books Read in 2008
Updated: 5/28
"The Apprentice"
"Body Double"



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The Real John McCain
Extreme Ironing
My Rising Up
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Airy Persiflage


28 May 2008

One of the cool things about being a critic is that when you go to a show, they give you a packet of "stuff."  Some theatres don't give you anything, some give you publicity photos or brochures about their upcoming show.  The really good theatres give you fact sheets about the show that you are about to see, and the really good fact sheets come from the touring Broadway shows, especially those that have been touring for a long time because...really...by the time a show has been around for twenty years and has toured around the world several times, what is there "new" to say about it?

Tonight we saw Phantom of the Opera in Sacramento and since all we did all day before going to the show was to sit in the car and drive home (well, Walt drove all the way; I was engrossed in my book and he let me read--I started it as we left and finished it about two hours before we got home!), I thought I would share with you some of the facts on the voluminous fact sheet that I got when I arrived at the theatre tonight.  These are things that never make it to reviews and you probably would never think to search for on the internet.  Since over 80 million people have seen the show, it's likely that many who read this journal have also seen it and might be fascinated, as I was.

These facts were last updated 10/19/06:

* The cost of mounting this tour:  $10 million
* The weekly running cost:  $610,000

* It takes 2.5 tons of steel reinforcements to support the weight of the set pieces.
* They need twenty 48-foot semi trucks to transport the show.

Here are facts about the scenery:

* The replica of the Paris Opera chandelier is 1,000 pounds, it is 10 feet tall, and contains 6,000 beads and 50 radio-controlled lights.
* The winch that controls the chandelier weighs 1.8 tons
* It takes 9.5 seconds for the chandelier to crash to the ground.
* The baroque procenium which frames the stage weighs 2.5 tons and took 4 months to construct.
* The portcullus (the gate to the Phantom's lair) weighs 1,600 lbs an takes 71 seconds to lower.
* There are 11 life-sized mannequins on the staircase for the "Masquerade" number
* There are 2,700 yards of fabric in the drapes
* There are 22 scene changes.
* There is one life-size elephant

Phantom11.jpg (46038 bytes)
                                                      Photo by Joan Marcus

* There are 36 performers in the show, 60 crew members, 37 scenery and electrical operators, and 17 orchestra members.
* There are 230 costumes, held on 200 feet of rack space and they cost $1.5 million.
* The weight of Carlotta's dress in the "Hannibal" opera is 35 lbs.
* There are 25 hair pieces
* The show has 14 dressers and 5 hairdressers
* It takes an hour for the phantom to get into his makeup
* They use 1 lb of gel every week for the Phantom's hair!

* 141 candles rise out of the deck to form the underground lake
* There are a total of 213 electrical candles in the show
* There are 52 special lighting effects, 10 follow spots and 14 pyrotechnic effects
* They use 550 lbs of dry ice each per performance, which comes to 114.4 tons a year.

The Phantom of the Opera has been seen in New York alone by 11 million people and the Broadway production has grossed over $600 million, more than any other show in Broadway history.

Sixteen actors have played the Phantom, with two of them (Hugh Panaro and Howard McGillin) returning to play it for a second time.  McGillin has played the title role in the Broadway production more than any other actor.

The show has been performed in 124 cities in 25 countries and there are currently (as of 2006) eleven productions around the world:  London, New York, Budapest, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Pretoria, Capetown, and the U.S. National Tour.

Now aren't you sorry you aren't a critic so you can get cool background information like this?


Phantom12.jpg (88003 bytes)



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MILES TO NOWHERE:  44.5 miles


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