Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera celebrated its 10,000th performance Saturday afternoon, February 11. The matinee served as a benefit for The Actors Fund.
Following the curtain call, audiences were treated to a presentation by star Hugh Panaro and choreographer Gillian Lynne. Before introducing a video featuring well-wishes from Lloyd Webber, producer Cameron Mackintosh, and the London cast at Her Majesty's Theatre, Lynne reminisced about her experiences working on the production at the Majestic Theatre 24 years ago. Panaro also read a letter of congratulations from director Harold Prince.
Audience members who bought tickets through The Actors Fund then joined the cast on stage for a champagne toast led by Fund Executive Director Joe Benincasa and President Brian Stokes Mitchell, with a viewing of a custom-made cake in the shape of "10,000."
The afternoon also served as a reunion for past cast members. Cris Groenendaal, who originated the role of Monsieur Andre and later played the title role, attended the performance as did a number of actresses who have played Christine, including Teri Bibb, Mary D'Arcy, Elizabeth Loyocano, Rebecca Pitcher, and Tracy Shayne.
The cast for the matinee performance featured Panaro in the title role, Trista Moldovan as Christine Daae, Kyle Barisich as Raoul, Aaron Galligan-Stierle as Monsieur Andre, Cristin J. Hubbard as Madame Giry, Kevin Ligon as Monsieur Firmin, Michelle McConnell as Carlotta, Heather McFadden as Meg Giry, and Christian Sebek as Piangi. Marni Rabb, who was also in attendance, plays the role of Christine at certain performances.