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Musicals extend as Phantom goes digital

First Published 7 May 2008, Last Updated 7 May 2008

Two of the West End’s favourite and longest running musicals, Chicago and The Phantom Of The Opera, have announced extensions to their already impressive London runs.

Chicago, Kander and Ebb’s sexy tale of murderous, media-manipulating showgirls, has added another five months on to its current booking period, taking its run at the Cambridge theatre to 30 July 2009.

Currently starring as the duplicitous duo Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart are Rachel McDowall and Sarah Soetaert. The pair will be replaced on 2 June by musical theatre regular Anna Jane Casey and former Hear’Say singer Suzanne Shaw, who recently won the ITV ice skating challenge Dancing On Ice. Casey and Shaw are joined by Terence Maynard, Victor McGuire and Sue Kelvin.

Chicago has spent more than a decade on the London stage, having opened at the Adelphi on 18 November 1997, where it remained until April 2006, becoming the longest running show in the theatre’s history.

While 10 years is a truly impressive West End run, making Chicago the sixth longest-running current London production, it is dwarfed by The Phantom Of The Opera, which has been running for 21 years and is now booking until April 2009.

The gothic tale of a masked monster, The Phantom Of The Opera is currently having a new £400,000 digital sound system fitted and will re-open on 8 May. The new system, designed by Laurence Olivier Award-winner Mick Potter, boasts 120 speakers throughout the auditorium and double the amount of microphones currently used.

Commenting on the new technology, producer Cameron Mackintosh said: “Phantom had ground-breaking sound when it opened in 1986 and Andrew and I have wanted for some time to give our sound system a complete update so that our audiences could enjoy the most exciting theatrical sound in London.”

The Phantom Of The Opera opened at Her Majesty’s on 9 October 1986 and will celebrate its 9,000th performance on 31 May.   

MA

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