Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Phantom' Run Here Extended a Week

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Phantom' Run Here Extended a Week

Article excerpt

IRVING BERLIN may have put the line to music, but generations - nay, centuries - of theater folk have believed that there's no business like show business.

For today's rave reviews, ask Cameron Mackintosh, who can enthuse about St. Louis, or Andrew Lloyd Webber, who knows about Los Angeles.

Mackintosh is "extending" the St. Louis run of "The Phantom of the Opera," and tickets for the "additional" week, Nov. 1-6, go on sale Sunday at noon. I use the quotation marks sardonically, because I'm convinced that Mackintosh had this plan in place all the time, waiting for St. Louis ticket sales to demand it.

Well, we met his expectations. Sales already surpass 85 percent of capacity for the first 37 performances, Oct. 1-31. The fifth week includes the standard eight performances, Monday-Saturday at 8 p.m., matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2.

If my mathematics are correct, St. Louisans have bought more than 122,000 tickets, and it's two months before the show opens, without a single announced performer. If "Phantom" plays to capacity for 45 performances, the theater gross will be $8.5 million, or about $189,000 per night. Length of run, attendance and box office receipts will, of course, be St. Louis records.

Prices range from a $57 top to $24, and that's a record, too. I expected a rash of complaints about the price from potential ticket-buyers but received only two.

The success of "Phantom" here, following similar financial triumphs in other American cities during the spring, is an interesting comment on American theater-goers. I saw the Chicago version, and it's a strong show with an excellent score and a plethora of special effects. It's entertaining, and it has a familiar story. It also produced a strong album, with a signature song in "The Music of the Night."

Michael Crawford, who created the role, became a star, but many others, including former St. Louisan Robert Guillaume, have sung the part without dampening the show's appeal. I'm sure that Mackintosh, whose genius at selling tickets is based on his genius in producing shows, will have performers of similar caliber when it arrives in October. …

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