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A man wearing a white mask over half his face holds an ornate candlestick in one hand and a swooning woman in a long white dress in the other
Photograph: Michael Le Poer Trench

POSTPONED: The Phantom of the Opera is coming back to Melbourne

See the blockbuster Andrew Lloyd Webber musical at Arts Centre Melbourne

Stephen A Russell

NOTE: This show has been postponed until 2022. You can read more here.

We've spoken about ghosts at the Arts Centre Melbourne before, and the lights left on to keep them company. But now the greatest phantom of them all is set to haunt the performance hall. Opera Australia, in association with the Really Useful Group, are striking up the discordant organ to announce, with a caped flourish, the arrival of arguably Andrew Lloyd Webber's most famous musical.

The Phantom of the Opera opens at Arts Centre Melbourne on November 14 2021, with West Side Story star Josh Piterman in the title role (and ghoulish half face mask). The Aussie star was just recently bringing The Music of the Night to the West End, playing the Phantom in London right up until that production was forced to shut down.

Unbelievably, it's the first time the box office smash will grace the Arts Centre Melbourne in its 35-year history. And you can bet it's going to dazzle, right down to the fateful plunge of the centrepiece chandelier. This spectacular staging, conjured by Cameron Mackintosh, will be brought to life in Melbourne by director Laurence Connor and will show off the fabulous original costume designs of Maria Björnson. The Melbourne season follows the production's run in Sydney, which kicks off September 1.

"I am thrilled to be able to bring this exciting new production of The Phantom of the Opera to Arts Centre Melbourne with its spectacular new staging by director Laurence Connor and fabulous designs by Paul Brown and Maria Bjornson," says Mackintosh. "The unprecedented demand for tickets to this new Australian production has set box office records in Sydney and we look forward to an equally successful season in Melbourne, where my original production was a legendary success in 1990, running for over two and a half years."

This is set to be one of the largest musical productions ever in Australia, performed by a cast and orchestra of 65, with special effects including a spectacular new realisation of the show’s chandelier.

Tickets go on sale on July 6, and you can join the waitlist here. As the title song goes, "In all your fantasies, you always knew... [that you have to book tickets for the campest show in musical history]".

Love spectacular musicals? Moulin Rouge! the Musical is also heading to Melbourne this year.

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