After a hiatus, the Phantom of the Opera is returning to the stage. Broadway welcomes back its longest-serving play in its history, with the Majestic Theatre hosting the first edition on October 22. The misanthropic composer is based on Gaston Leroux’s novel, Le Fantôme de L’Opéra, and commands audiences annually, so expectations surrounding the play’s success are high. It may be a classic, yet it continues to appeal to new audiences regularly, and this season won’t be any different.
Some plays revolve around niche genres. They are no less successful in the short term, but their abstract themes mean they struggle to maintain momentum for long periods. For example, fantasy and horror appeal to a particular group of people. As a result, there isn’t an influx of new customers to keep the theatres open.
Phantom doesn’t have the same issue, as highlighted by its worldwide appeal. Not only is it Broadway’s longest-running musical, but it has also enjoyed a 33-year run in the UK’s West End. Why? It’s because the play is a tale of unrequited love, and all its features enforce the concept, from the characters themselves to the music and props. Romance is powerful, and it’s this element that fascinates theatregoers from eclectic demographics. ABBA is another example as the band used relatable themes to stay relevant, even releasing a Hollywood and West End musical.
Relevancy in Pop Culture
Unfortunately, romance isn’t enough to attract the numbers Phantom of the Opera has over the decades. To hit the figures that it has since Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version opened in 1987, the musical needs to adapt, a target it has smashed continuously for over three decades. After grossing billions at the box office, Phantom was released on DVD, Blu-ray, Album, and Download, resulting in 40 million copies sold worldwide.
An indirect connection through different mediums is an effective strategy too. American sitcom, The Goldbergs, is an incredibly popular show that exposed its viewers to the play with its episode that focused on the role it played in the protagonist’s life. A more modern case study is the effect of iGaming. By taking themes from popular shows and combining them with casino promo codes, online casinos develop titles that engage and attract audiences. The Phantom of the Opera slot game, available on Bet365, features the play’s beloved main characters and enables the Phantom to once again win new audiences’ hearts.
Phantom of the Opera has over 70 major theatre awards and productions in dozens of countries in different languages. It is going nowhere thanks to the role of the relatable theme and its relevance in popular culture. That should class as success in anybody’s book.