Phantom of the Opera has become first musical to be broadcast live on Facebook. The digital stream was part of a special 30th anniversary production, with members of the original cast and production team in attendance.
Michael Crawford, who starred in the first show on 9 October, 1986, took part in surprise finale rendition of Happy Birthday that also featured former cast member Michael Ball and current cast members Ben Forster, Celinde Schoenmaker and Nadim Naaman.
Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and producer Cameron Mackintosh gave speeches during the event. Based on a 1911 novel by French writer Gaston Leroux, the show has proved incredibly lucrative for the pair grossing an estimated GBP5bn (€5.5bn) worldwide.
Phantom of the Opera is the third-longest running production on in the West End, after The Mouse Trap and Les Miserables. In addition it is the longest-running show in Broadway history, with more than 10,000 performances. The London version is currently scheduled to run at Her Majesty’s Theatre until 15 October, 2017.