The New York Times - Recommended
"...It may be possible to have a terrible time at 'The Phantom of the Opera,' but you'll have to work at it. Only a terminal prig would let the avalanche of pre-opening publicity poison his enjoyment of this show, which usually wants nothing more than to shower the audience with fantasy and fun, and which often succeeds, at any price. It would be equally ludicrous, however - and an invitation to severe disappointment - to let the hype kindle the hope that 'Phantom' is a credible heir to the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals that haunt both Andrew Lloyd Webber's creative aspirations and the Majestic Theater as persistently as the evening's title character does. What one finds instead is a characteristic Lloyd Webber project - long on pop professionalism and melody, impoverished of artistic personality and passion - that the director Harold Prince, the designer Maria Bjornson and the mesmerizing actor Michael Crawford have elevated quite literally to the roof. 'The Phantom of the Opera' is as much a victory of dynamic stagecraft over musical kitsch as it is a triumph of merchandising uber alles."
NY Daily News - Highly Recommended
"...It is a spectacular entertainment, visually the most impressive of the British musicals. Perhaps the most old-fashioned thing about it is it's a love story, something Broadway has not seen for quite a while. To say the score is Lloyd Webber's best is not saying a great deal. His music always has a synthetic, borrowed quality to it. As you listen you find yourself wondering where you've heard it before. In this case you've heard a lot of it in Puccini, in the work of other Broadway composers and even the Beatles. Nevertheless he seems to be borrowing from better sources, and he has much greater sophistication about putting it all together. There are some droll opera parodies, several beautiful songs, an impressive septet and a grand choral number, all richly orchestrated."
Associated Press - Highly Recommended
"...Quite simply the best of the British spectaculars that have invaded and dominated Broadway over the last decade. There are several reasons for its success. The Phantom contains some lush, romantic music by Andrew Lloyd Webber--his most accomplished score to date...Charles Hart's lyrics--with an assist from Stilgoe--tend toward the overripe but their sweetness fits the florid style of the music."
Hollywood Reporter - Recommended
"...The bottom line, it is a good show...Carrying a sumptuous score by Weber [sic], skilled and creative direction by Harold Prince and more spectacle than has ever been crowded onto a New York stage before, it's a whale that delivers."
Variety - Highly Recommended
"...The London audiences aren't wrong. "The Phantom Of The Opera" is romantic musical theater hokum in the grand manner - hokum cordon blue - and it justifies the feverish buildup that has given it a $16,500,000 advance. It's good for a Broadway run of several years. Andrew Lloyd Webber has taken the Gaston Leroux potboiler about the love-crazed disfigured genius who lives in the catacombs of the Paris Opera and fashioned it into a thrilling and musically rich mass legit entertainment. The 19th century period spectacle, scenic legerdemain, soaring melodies and exceptional singing are at the service of an involving and piquantly offbeat love story, all of it staged with brilliantly organized flair by Harold Prince, back in top form."
USA Today - Somewhat Recommended
"...The music, writing, stage spectacle all have their ups and downs in Andrew Lloyd Webber's $8 million Phantom of the Opera...The show puts machinery first and flesh-and-blood second...As skillfully as director Harold Prince uses the sets, the wizardry distracts from the story it's supposed to tell--and swallows the actors. It's almost as if this is a live MTV video without the camera's selective eye to keep the audience from missing the trees for the forest."
New York Post - Highly Recommended
"...Technically it is a piece of impeccably crafted musical theater, with theme, music and staging in perfect accord. They combine as a total statement that depends for its potency more on the sum of its parts than on the strength of any individual component."
Bergen Record - Recommended
"...Doesn't have the substance that one hopes for, but it is nonetheless impressive: musically captivating, gorgeous, spectacular, and occasionally touching...The show has an almost giddy sense of the possibilities of theatrical witchcraft...But the adaptation of the novel, by Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe--who also contributed lyrics--is also thin and commonplace, with obvious satirical overtones... Phantom of the Opera doesn't always engage the heart, but it offers abundant pleasures for the eye and ear."
Newsday - Recommended
"...I should say that "Phantom" is a lot of fun...From the richness of Harold Prince's staging to the creative opulence of Maria Bjornson's sets, this production knows exactly what it wants us to feel and how to manipulate us into believing this is great stuff. What keeps "Phantom" from being more than fabulous junk-food entertainment, paradoxically, is the same thing that ensures its popularity."
Washington Post - Highly Recommended
"..."Silently the senses/abandon their defenses." That, in a rhyme, is my reaction to the musical itself. It is a thrilling show -- as sumptuous as any on Broadway. And it touches the heart in odd and unexpected ways...If you put aside all preconceived notions and let the spell happen, I don't see how you can be disappointed. As with hypnosis, the trick is not to resist...Buoyed by the strains of Lloyd Webber's lush score, Phantom shimmers with true romanticism...The musical restores a latter-day integrity to excess, and the remarkable staging of director Prince negotiates the sudden transitions and hairpin turns with grace and fluidity. "Phantom" is a dream. And it is a nightmare. Frequently, it is both at the same time."
NY Magazine - Somewhat Recommended
"...To look on the bright side first, The Phantom of the Opera is a terrific technical achievement. If you want scenery and costumes, sight gags and sight thrills, they're all there-$8.5 million worth of them-on the aptly named Majestic stage. And who doesn't want to see candles sprout all around an underground lake (even if it does not make technological sense) and a giant chandelier almost crash into the audience below (even if it looks more like a giant balloon changing courses in midair)? It is good, mindless fun, and costs less than a trip to Disney World... The only areas in which The Phantom of the Opera is deficient are book, music, and lyrics."
New Yorker - Somewhat Recommended
"...Certainly it is good fun--if you're not bothered by the prospect of a completely nonverbal musical that contains not the glimmer of an idea...Probably Lloyd Webber's most tasteful musical to date: nothing in it really assaults the intelligence or the sensibilities--though it does reek of elegance. The music is essentially pop-schlock: for the easily moved, there are melancholy, sentimental tunes that cloy even as they become familiar, and for the semi-enlightened there are easy parodies."
Time Magazine - Recommended
"...The show apparently taps into yearnings for a transporting sensory and mystical experience; in a word, for magic. On that primal level, despite considerable and at times embarrassing shortcomings, Phantom powerfully delivers. The story may be muddled, the characters sketchy, some performances shallow and the music often slushily derivative. So what. For those who seek an equivalent to a ride through the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World... Phantom is a brilliantly manipulative journey, scary yet ultimately unthreatening."
Los Angeles Times - Not Recommended
"...On balance, it is not that much fun and not that scary. "Phantom" is a much more honorable and substantial musical than Lloyd Webber's last two efforts, "Song and Dance" and the obnoxious "Starlight Express." There's a real attempt here to write for characters and to explore a serious theme...There aren't many moments when Lloyd Webber's music or Charles Hart's lyrics grasp its dark unsettling magic."
New York Observer - Highly Recommended
"...A thrilling work of musical theater. Not just because it marshals the resources of the theater--story, spectacle, song--with such lavish authority, but because it stirs the depths that lie below the bright, noisy regions of our daily consciousness...An eerily magnificent spectacle."
New Jersey Star-Ledger - Highly Recommended
"...What fun, what imagination and genius have been instilled into this musical to make it the extraordinary event it is! Taken apart, Phantom, brilliantly staged by Harold Prince, is hardly a superior musical in the traditional sense, despite its dazzling overall effect...Charles Hart's lyrics, with a few additional ones by Richard Stilgoe, can't keep up with the composer's prodigiously eclectic style and sometimes they are even mediocre...Whatever it is, it most certainly is an unforgettable and dazzling piece of voluptuous stagecraft."