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Yesterday, The Phantom of the Opera celebrated its 24th birthday. Yes, January 26, 1988 was the date history-in-the making began... unless you count its previews which started 17 days earlier on January 9. Nearly 10,000 performances later (that milestone will be made on February 11, 2012), it is hard to imagine Broadway without it, right? Well, for a lot of Broadway fans, their lives have never know a day without the show on Broadway. Literally.
The same goes for many of today's performers. Not a single day in their lives has been lived without Phantom playing the Majestic Theatre. I'll bet that for many of them, the show was the first, or among the first they ever saw. So, who are some of these (literally) Broadway Babies?
- Adam Reigler - the original Pugsley in The Addams Family.
- Anna Maria Perez de Tagle - currently starring as Anna Maria ("Day By Day") in Godspell.
- Alexa Vega - she played Penny Pingleton in Hairspray.
- Brittny Kissinger - she played Annie in the 1997 revival of Annie.
- Daniel Radcliffe - most recently starred as Finch in How to Succeed and earlier as Alan Strang in Equus.
|Kiril Kulish, David Alvarez and Trent Kowalik|
- David Alvarez, Kiril Kulish and Trent Kowalik - the three were the original (and all Tony-winning) Broadway Billys in Billy Elliot.
- Emma Hunton - currently Maureen in RENT; most recently, Spring Awakening and the National Tour of next to normal.
- Haley Joel Osment - the Oscar nominee starred in the short lived revival of American Buffalo.
- Hunter Parrish - currently starring as Jesus in Godspell; previously in Spring Awakening.
- Jennifer Damiano - Tony nominee for next to normal, most recently, she created the role of Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
- Jordin Sparks - the American Idol winner recently starred in In the Heights.
|Anna Maria Perez de Tagle and Hunter Parrish|
- Kelsey Fowler - most recently, Young Bonnie in Bonnie and Clyde, plus Grey Gardens and Mary Poppins.
- Mackenzie Mauzy - most recently, next to normal and A Tale of Two Cities on Broadway, and the leading role in Broadway-bound White Noise.
- Madeleine Martin - most recently in August: Osage County and The Pillowman.
- Matthew Gumley - his credits include Elf, The Addams Family, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast.
- Mitchel Federan - Theatre World Award winner for his role as Young Peter Allen in The Boy from Oz.
- Nick Jonas - currently starring as Finch in How to Succeed, also, Annie Get Your Gun, Beauty and the Beast, Les Miserables.
- Richard Fleeshman - about to star as Sam Wheat in Ghost: The Musical.
- Taylor Trensch - he started performances THIS WEEK as Boq in Wicked. Welcome!
- William Ullrich - co-starred in the revivals of Nine and The Music Man.
These are just a few of the many under-24 Broadway performers. Playbill Vault lists 48 actors born between January 1988 and today. And that doesn't even include most of the late-in-the-run Beauty and the Beast Chips, most of the Young Simbas and Young Nalas in The Lion King, all of the Broadway Billy Elliots, and all of the Broadway Janes and Michaels in Mary Poppins.
Makes you wonder how many future Broadway stars who aren't even born yet will be able to say they've never known Broadway without a 10,000+ performance Phantom!