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Man Showed Up 13,000 Times for Broadway Play

The final curtain fell on the longest-running show in Broadway history after 13,981 performances. Alan Lampel has been there for roughly 13,000 of them. Mr. Lampel has done the same job in the same place for the same production from the very beginning of its existence. He takes a seat in a rolling chair at his desk in the back of the orchestra section of the Majestic Theater and plays the most important role that nobody should notice: He is the head electrician for The Phantom of the Opera.

“I’ve seen the show more than anybody on earth,” Mr. Lampel says. In fact, nobody has seen any show as many times as he sat through Phantom, which has sold 20 million tickets and earned $1.3 billion during a run that made other Broadway productions look more like high-school musicals. There was one guy keeping the lights on the whole time. And the success of any business is every bit as much about the electrician operating behind the scenes as the people taking a bow on stage.

Mr. Lampel was there at the start on January 26, 1988, and he was there at the end on April 16, 2023. That kind of longevity on Broadway is not just unprecedented. It’s unimaginable. There were colleagues he loved and bosses he didn’t. His responsibilities evolved with technology.

Others in the theater have no reason to pay attention to Mr. Lampel. But it’s those who understand Phantom the best who appreciate his contributions the most. Andrew Lloyd Webber, the show’s composer said, “Phantom has shone brighter on Broadway for 35 years because of the work of Alan Lampel.’”

Possible Preaching Angle:

In life, usually the author, the speaker, and the star of the show gets the praise. But quite often, just as much praise, if not more, is due the person who quietly and faithfully works behind the scenes. This is especially true in the church, where a faithful group of people often work unnoticed to set up chairs, staff the nursery, work with the youth, using their less “spectacular” spiritual gifts who also do the work of God.

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