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How 'The Phantom of the Opera' Almost Never Came to Broadway

The longest-running show on Broadway almost never came to New York.

Five months after opening to sold-out crowds in London’s West End, the producers of The Phantom of the Opera announced their plans to bring the mesmerizing musical to Broadway. The show was scheduled to open at the newly renovated Majestic Theatre in November 1987, and feature the same lead performers from London.

Phantom of the Opera

Hugh Panaro and Sierra Boggess performing in the 25th anniversary performance of 'The Phantom of the Opera' at the Majestic Theatre on January 26, 2013. (Photo by Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)

In order to get immigration visas for British performers, producers must first secure approval from the American labor union, Actors’ Equity Association. The American group had set up an exchange program with its English counterpart, British Actors’ Equity Association, where, for each British actor allowed to appear on Broadway, an American actor would be allowed to appear in the West End. An exception to the 1-for-1 trade deal was carved out for international stars and foreign performers uniquely qualified to play roles that no Americans could perform.

Click here for the full article published on by Marc Hershberg on January 23, 2018.