Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ever Since Phantom Opened on Broadway: The First 10 Years

I was looking through Playbill Online's PLAYBLOG, and they had a link to a backstage tour of The Phantom of the Opera's National Touring Company.  That company has been running non-stop for nearly 18 years, and will finally close on October 31 in Los Angeles.  The video, below, is pretty interesting in and of itself.  Led by the company's Meg Giry, Paloma Garcia Lee, she might just be the most interesting aspect of the whole thing!  After a stint in the Broadway company, she hit the road and will close the tour at the end of this month.

Turns out that she was the youngest person ever hired to be in the show two years ago, when she was a mere 17 years old.  As if that weren't enough, she is also the first company member that was born AFTER the show opened!

So that got me to thinking.  Phantom  has been a Broadway presence for more than 22 years, opening on January 26, 1988 (after previews that began January 9).  What has happened in the world since that now historic opening?  I was surprised at some of the stuff I found!

Since The Phantom of the Opera opened on Broadway:
  • There have been 5 US Presidents: Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama.
  • In 1998, the average price for a gallon of gas was 91 cents and a movie ticket was $3.50.

  • Prozac was introduced.
  • Crack made its first appearance in US cities.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope was launched.
  • The US Stealth Bomber was unveiled.
  • The first Laser Eye Surgery was done.

  • Flag burning was declared protected as a First Amendment freedom of speech.
  • The first Global Positioning satellite was launched and operational.
  • The 486 series of microprocessor was created by Intel.
  • The first Gameboy was sold in Japan by Nintendo.
  • Microsoft Office is introduced.

  • The Simpsons airs on Fox for the first time (as its own show).
  • A major recession hits the US.
  • Nelson Mandela is released from a South African prison.
  • Margaret Thatcher resigns as Prime Minister. (Take note, Billy Elliot fans!)
  • Germany unites as one country.

  • The first stage of  "Chunnel" between Great Britain and France is completed as workers come together under the English Channel as the complete "hole" is dug.
  • The first documented case of AIDS is traced all the way back to 1959.
  • The first satellite navigation system in a car is installed.

  • The Internet is born.
  • Tim Bernes-Lee launches the first Web Browser.

  • The Mall of America, covering 78 acres, is constructed.
  • L.A. riots begin following the televising of the Rodney King beating by police.
  • Apartheid is voted down and ends in South Africa.
  • The Nicotine Patch is introduced.

  • Windows 3.1 is released, as is Microsoft Works.
  • ATT sells the first video phone for $1,499.00.
  • DNA fingerprinting is developed.
  • Miley Cyrus was born, and the world rejoiced...

  • The first bombing of the World Trade Center occurs in New York City.
  • Beanie Babies are introduced.
  • Intel releases the first Pentium Processor.
  • The World Wide Web is born, and the world rejoiced was never the same again.

  • "The Chunnel" opens for traffic.
  • OJ Simpson takes a ride in his white Bronco.  Not since Paul Revere...
  • Digital Satellite Television makes its debut.
  • Both Netscape Navigator and Java are introduced.

  • The Oklahoma City Bombing occurs, marking the start of domestic terrorism.
  • OJ Simpson is found innocent of criminal charges.
  • The concept of the DVD is announced.
  • Toy Story is the first full-length film that is 100% computer generated.

  • Internet Explorer and Java programing are introduced.
  • Ebay is born, and the world's largest swap meet begins.
  • Ask Jeeves is launched.
  • Chicago: The Musical  - A revival, opens on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, after a successful run at Encores!

  • Hong Kong is given back over to Chinese rule.
  • On August 31, Princess Diana is killed in an automobile crash in Paris.
  • Mother Teresa dies.
  • There is a worldwide stock market crash.
  • Disney's The Lion King opens at the New Amsterdam Theatre.

  • OJ Simpson is found guilty of civil charges.
  • At 21, Tiger Woods becomes the youngest winner of The Masters.
  • The Mars Pathfinder lands on Mars.
  • Microsoft is the world's most valuable company at $261B.

  • In 1997, a gallon of gas averaged $1.22, and a movie ticket was $4.59.

And that is just the first decade of the Phantom years....

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