After 35 Years, Broadway Is Saying Goodbye to Phantom of the Opera
For the longest time, The Phantom of the Opera has withstood some of the great changes and transitions of its time. But the pandemic, unfortunately, has caught up to it. The longest-running musical in Broadway history is bidding farewell to London's West End after 35 years.
“As a producer you dream that a show will run forever,” Cameron Mackintosh said in a statement. “Indeed, my production of Andrew’s Cats proudly declared for decades ‘Now and Forever.’ Yet Phantom has surpassed that show’s extraordinary Broadway run. But all shows do finally close.”
Phantom opened on Broadway back in January 1988, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical, Best Direction for the late Hal Prince, and five other trophies. It closed down back in March 2020 due to the pandemic.
Based on a novel by Gaston Leroux, the world-famous musical, which tells the story of a masked composer living beneath a Paris opera house, has been around since 1986. Some of Andrew Lloyd Webber's most memorable pieces include "Masquerade," "All I Ask of You," and "The Music of the Night." It has been watched by more than 145 million people across 183 cities and 17 languages.
The Webber musical production cited revenue and attendance issues as the main culprits.
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It had initially rebounded from its COVID-19 woes with $1 million grosses a week. As the weeks went on, however, ticket sales started to dwindle down. According to the Associated Press, Phantom had only made $867,997 during the week of September 11.
This was not enough to cover the cost of production though, considering the large cast and orchestra. The New York Post had previously reported that the musical was losing $1 million a month. London would eventually see the musical reopen with a smaller orchestra and some cost-effective measures.
In February 2012, Phantom became the first Broadway production to perform for the 10,000th time. When the musical drops the final curtain at the Majestic Theater in February 2023, it will have had staged 13,925 performances in total.