Show Business: Chills, Thrills and Trapdoors

What would provide the most stimulating change of pace after Starlight Express's romance of the rails? For Andrew Lloyd Webber it was the sweep and dash of pure old-fashioned romance. He found it in French Novelist Gaston Leroux's 1910 thriller Le Fantome de l'Opera, long a standby for stage and screen adaptations (notably Lon Chaney's 1925 silent horror film). The version devised by Lloyd Webber and Librettist Richard Stilgoe dispensed with much of the novel's narrative superstructure to focus on two characters: the gruesomely disfigured genius who haunts the Paris Opera and the young Swedish soprano, Christine Daae, who is the...

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