Fans get their phreak on

'Phantom's' Butler shocked by attention at preem

NEW YORK — As stars entered Sunday’s preem of “Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera” at the Ziegfeld, Gerard Butler‘s fans were packed behind barricades on the opposite side of 54th Street. When Butler appeared, one yelled, “That is the handsomest man to ever walk the earth.”

Surprisingly, these weren’t mere “Phantom” phreaks supporting a relatively unknown thesp who happened to be bringing their fave legit role to the screen — they’ve been devoted to Gerry for years.

Butler called the attention “a bit of a shock” especially considering it grew from “movies and miniseries like ‘Attila’ and ‘Dracula’ and ‘Tomb Raider,’ which a lot of people hate.” But if you love it, he added, “Then you love it in a big way.” The thesp even showed up at a big fan dinner the previous night.

Emmy Rossum said there weren’t any phantoms at the Metropolitan Opera when she performed there as a child — just the memory of a cellist who was murdered there years before. But she could see the appeal of her character’s dark mentor: “He empowers her creativity,” she said at the Plaza Hotel after-party. “That’s really sexy.”

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