Theater: Music Of The Night THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics by Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe; Book by Stilgoe and Lloyd Webber

Even if The Phantom of the Opera were the greatest show on earth, probably nothing in the way of actual experience could measure up to the hoopla that preceded last week's U.S. debut of the monster-meets-girl musical. No previous offering in Broadway history has rivaled the $18 million advance sale for Phantom, a commitment made by hundreds of thousands of people to pay up to $50 a ticket, generally before having had a chance to hear any of the songs, read any reviews or acquire the vaguest familiarity with the imported-from- London stars.

Some of the show's lures are known commodities:...