‘The Phantom of the Opera’ will end on Broadway after 35 years

Broadway’s longest-running show is about to retire. The musical theater show “The Phantom of the Opera” will end next year, the production said.

“We are sad to confirm that after 35 years on Broadway, Phantom will perform its final performance at the Majestic Theater on Saturday, February 18, 2023,” a short statement on its official website read.

According to reports, the show was struggling to rebound after tickets plummeted in the face of much of Broadway amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The memorable musical, composed by British theater legend Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Charles Hart, includes songs “Music of the Night”, “Think of Me” and “All I Ask of You”. It made its New York debut in 1988, produced by Cameron Mackintosh and directed by Hal Prince, winning seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

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The romantic thriller is based on a novel by French author Gaston Leroux and tells the story of a disfigured masked man, the Phantom, who haunts the Paris Opera and becomes obsessed with dancer Christine Daaé. He teaches her to sing, making her an unwitting muse for his genius, and later kidnaps her from his lair.

The production is known for its dramatic set design – and an iconic moment when a large chandelier falls from the ceiling.

“As a producer, you dream of a show going on forever,” producer Mackintosh told The Associated Press. “Indeed, my production of Andrew’s ‘Cats’ has for decades proudly declared ‘Now and Forever’. Yet ‘Phantom’ topped that show’s extraordinary Broadway run. But all shows eventually come to an end.”

Like other creative industries, Broadway has been hit hard by the pandemic, with theaters closing to the public in 2020. Shows returned in the fall of 2021, with theater critics predicting a rebound in New York’s cultural life. But Phantom’s permanent closure highlights the difficulties still facing the expensive entertainment industry. Since July, vaccine requirements for spectators have been lifted and wearing a mask has become optional.

In total, the show will end after 13,925 performances. It has won over 70 major theater awards and has been seen by over 140 million people worldwide.

During his 35 years, acting stars have included Michael Crawford, George Lee Andrews, Howard McGillin, Judy Kaye and Sarah Brightman, among many others. In 2021, Emilie Kouatchou made history as the first black actress to play the role of Christine on Broadway. The show was also adapted into a film in 2004, with Gerard Butler in the title role.

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Webber ruled the world of musical theater for over 50 years and wrote hit shows such as “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “The Woman in White” and “Cats”, which aired on Broadway for 18 years. ending in 2000. He is also one of the few artists to achieve “EGOT status” after receiving Emmys, Grammys, Oscars and Tony Awards.

With Phantom stripping its Broadway crown, the next longest-running show is “Chicago,” which debuted in 1996, followed by “Lion King,” which debuted a year later.

However, in theater, as in life, endings can lead to new beginnings, and Phantom is set to premiere in Mandarin in 2023 when it arrives in China. He also made his Sydney Opera House debut last month.

New York City fans can still purchase tickets for performances through Jan. 22, and tickets for the final shows are expected to go on sale “shortly,” according to the theater company.

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