‘The Phantom of the Opera’, Broadway’s longest-running production, will cease in February 2023, becoming the latest victim of New York city’s post-pandemic decline in theatregoers.
The musical, which has been a mainstay on Broadway since 1988 and has survived war, economic downturns and cultural transformations, will give its last Broadway performance on 18th February.
It will come to a close, less than a month after its 35th anniversary and will conclude with a staggering 13,925 performances!
With magnificent sets and costumes, a sizable cast and an orchestra, it is an expensive production to maintain. Since the play resumed following the pandemic, box office revenues have varied, peaking as high as over $1 million a week and falling as low as $850,000.
‘Phantom’, which is based on a Gaston Leroux novel, tells the tale of a deformed composer who haunts the Paris Opera House and falls hopelessly in love with Christine, an innocent and young soprano. The extravagant songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber include ‘Masquerade,’ ‘The Music of the Night,’ ‘Angel of Music’ and ‘All I Ask of You’.
“As a producer, you dream that a show will run forever. 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,” producer Cameron Mackintosh said in a statement.
Phantom’s end would give ‘Chicago’, which debuted in 1996, the title of the longest-running show followed by ‘The Lion King’, which began performances in 1997.
During the pandemic, Broadway suffered a blow, with all theatres remaining shut for more than 18 months. ‘Hamilton’, ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Wicked’, three of the most well-liked shows, have all successfully recovered, but other productions have had difficulty. In order to break even, a city often needs a regular flow of tourists, particularly for ‘Phantom’. However, the number of visitors to the city hasn’t yet reached pre-pandemic levels.