PHANTOM

The New York Times
Arts/Entertainment

Wednesday January 27th 1988

After Opening at Majestic, the Gala at the Beacon

By Ron Alexander

ast night, the Majestic wasn’t the only theater to have the logo of “The Phantom of the Opera” on its marquee. The mask also appeared at the Beacon Theater for the show’s opening night party given by Cameron Mackintosh and the Really Useful Theater Company, the producers.

Joining the jostling crowd was Beverly Sills, who said, “A buck here and a buck there, and we can have sets just as lavish at the New York City Opera.”

Lynn Wyall arrived with Bill Blass, but was wearing a Lacroix dress. Iris Love, who arrived with Arnold Scaasi, was wearing a Blass, and a cape dating form 1905.

Fashionably Late
Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composed of the show, and the stars of the show, Sarah Brightman, who is Mr. Lloyd Webber’s wife, and Michael Crawford, arrived late.

Barbara Walters said, “the show was magical and theater the way it should be… and I wish my coat were warmer.” The coat she was wearing was gray cloth.

Glimpsed here and there during the “Phantom” intermission were some notable faces. Among them: Gwen Verdon, David Merrick, Molly Ringwald, Linda Lavin, Carrie Fisher, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Donald J. Trump was there to cheer on Mr. Lloyd Webber and Miss Brightman who have a $6 million 12 room duplex high up in Trump Tower. Mayor Koch, who doesn’t much care for $7 movie admissions, was boasting about Broadway: “First ‘Les Mis’, and now this”.

“I see a lot of pizzazz,” said Morton Gottlieb, surveying the crowd. “ There must be a lot of out-of-towners tonight.”

Next Best to Paris
The locale for the party was chosen as the next best thing to the Paris Opera House by Jim McNabb of McNabb & Associates, who coordinated the event for Mr. Mackintosh. It was a shorter trip, to be sure, but the 1,100 formally dressed guests faced biting cold and stiff winds as they made their way up Broadway.

The 2,708-seat Beacon Theater, at Broadway and 74th street, was built in the style of the old movie palaces by Roxy Rothafer and has been designated a city landmark. It was constructed in 1929, a half century or so after Gaston Leroux, the author of the Phantom, had his hero send the chandelier of the Paris Opera House crashing down on his audience.

The Beacon, in fact, has a pretty nifty chandelier of its own, albeit in the lobby. The theater – an orgy of Greek, Roman, Renaissance and rococo architecture – also has a grand scale Wurlitzer organ, which emerges from the floor, and a stage, which also rises.

For the party a platform was built over the orchestra seats and another two-tier platform was constructed over the balcony. The new space was to accommodate the dinner tables covered with red velvet cloths. “Very Belle Epoque,” said Mr. McNabb, estimating the total cost of the event at “a quarter of a million dollars.”

The food, served, buffet style, was prepared under the stage “Hopefully no phantoms are lurking around down there,” said Jean-Michel Savoca of New York Parties, who with his partner Boyce Brawley catered the menu. Their goal: “a supper that people might have had in turn-of-the-century Paris.” That included, for starters, such items as leek chiffonade en barquette, caviar purses and boneless stuffed quail.