Couple more things and then I'm through with this topic. During intermission, my gentleman-caller quoted someone (he couldn't remember who) as saying the Phantom of the Opera is by far the gayest of villains. I had to agree. Then after the show, we learned that we could buy in the lobby a CD called "Broadway's Fabulous Phantoms," featuring all the Phantom actors singing different songs. It just killed me. (And oh dear, I shouldn't make fun, as it features the late Steve Barton. He was the original Raoul. RIP.)
Also, the New York Times has a nice review summarizing the Broadway show's appeal: "For those sentimental souls looking for a popular entertainment to transport them to a baroque, romantic new world with a powerful smoke machine, 'Phantom,' I'm happy to report, still delivers the goods." It's posted over at thephantomoftheopera.com, which seems to have a healthy sense of its own ridiculousness.