Happy Birthday, Gaston Leroux!
Many people know The Phantom of the Opera as the longest running show on Broadway. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical opened in 1988 and recently celebrated its 30th anniversary on January 26, 2018. The musical is a winner of more than 70 major theater awards and has been seen by more than 140 million people. The Phantom of the Opera continued its popularity with the 2004 movie starring Gerard Butler, Emmy Ross, and Patrick Wilson. Prior to that it appeared as a silent film, starring Lon Chaney in 1925.
But did you know the book , written by French author Gaston Leroux, was actually published over a century ago in 1910? The story about a recluse living the in underworld of the Paris Opera House who is obsessed with and kidnaps one of the singers is well-known now, but accolades of Leroux’s accomplishment weren’t rolling in—at first. Sales of The Phantom of the Opera were mediocre, and the reviews weren’t all that stellar. It wasn’t until his story hit the big screen in 1925 that his book started gaining recognition. Two years after the movie release, Leroux died at the age of 59 in 1927. Although he had written over 60 novels, he will most be remembered for The Phantom of the Opera.