After more than three decades, “The Phantom of the Opera” is preparing to hang its mask on Broadway.
The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical has been performed to more than 145 million people worldwide in 41 countries, 183 cities and 17 languages - winning 70 major theater awards including seven Tony Awards and four Olivier Awards.
The show also claims the title of Greatest Job Producer in American theater history. During its run, “Phantom” created an estimated 6,500 jobs, including those of 400 actors, in New York City, while generating $1.3 billion in ticket sales. The final show is scheduled to take place at the Majestic Theater on April 16.
Casting director Tara Rubin has helped cast the beloved musical for more than three decades — operating just down the street from Majestic.
The Phantom of the Opera director, Tara Rubin
“I never dreamed I’d have a job like this,” Rubin told CNBC. “In 1987, when we started casting, I typed all the casting sheets we used for the tests on a Selectric typewriter.”
At that time, she also made phone calls to clients—instead of emailing them, and did it all on a rotary phone.
“[Phantom’s] He maintained his presence on the street, and then in the city for a long time. It’s inspired other shows, it’s inspired people to become actors,” Rubin said.
Robin is just one of 20 “believers” who have worked on the show for over three decades.
“The Phantom of the Opera” dressed by Ron Blakely
Dresser Ron Blakely is another worker who was working behind the scenes in the wardrobe department when the curtain went up on Majestic for the first time.
Blakley’s job is to vet the show’s costumes to make sure they’re in top shape. He toured for CNBC his backstage area, complete with beaded costumes and ball gowns.
After each performance, Blakley checks the costumes for any signs of wear. “I get a needle and some thread and sew it up and put the back in place.”
But what will he miss now?
“People,” said Blakely.
“Phantom of the Opera” lead electrician Alan Lampel
The one-color chandelier is the centerpiece of the show. She hovers over the audience every night. For three decades, chief electrician Alan Lampel has kept his lights on.
He said her name was “Ruthie Two,” in honor of co-director Ruth Mitchell.
Lampel said he’s seen hundreds of actors come and go in “Phantom,” but the chandelier hasn’t left the stage since opening night.
“I watch it from my place at the back of the orchestra,” he said. “And it’s very powerful.”
Under the chandelier is another performer in the orchestra pit, violinist Jean Moulin.
Violinist “The Phantom of the Opera” Jean Moulin
It is one of the 27 musicians who make up one of the largest orchestras on Broadway.
“In music like this, which is complex, there’s always something different that you can see or do with it,” said Mullen, who never expected to get the job when she auditioned after graduating from Juilliard.
“It’s as good as it gets,” Mullen said. “I’m so happy that so many people were able to enjoy it.”