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A poster advertising “The Phantom of the Opera” is displayed at closed Majestic Theatre in New York in March 2020. Photo: AP

Phantom of the Opera to close on Broadway after 35 years

  • The hit musical, a Broadway fixture since 1988, will end its run in February, becoming the biggest victim yet of New York’s pandemic-hit theatre scene
  • The crown for longest-running show will pass to Chicago, which started in 1996, followed by The Lion King, in 1997

The Phantom of the Opera – Broadway’s longest-running show – is scheduled to close in February 2023, the biggest victim yet of the post-pandemic softening in theatre attendance in New York.

The musical – a fixture on Broadway since 1988, weathering recessions, war and cultural shifts – will play its final performance on Broadway on February 18, a spokesperson said on Friday. The closing will come less than a month after its 35th anniversary.

It is a costly musical to sustain, with elaborate sets and costumes as well as a large cast and orchestra. Box office grosses have fluctuated since the show reopened after the pandemic – going as high as over US$1 million a week but also dropping to around US$850,000.

Last week, it hit US$867,997 and producers may have seen the writing on the wall.

Based on a novel by Gaston Leroux, Phantom tells the story of a deformed composer who haunts the Paris Opera House and falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lavish songs include “Masquerade”, ″Angel of Music”, ″All I Ask of You” and “The Music of the Night”.

The first production opened in London in 1986 and since then the show has been seen by more than 145 million people in 183 cities and performed in 17 languages over 70,000 performances.

On Broadway alone, the musical has played more than 13,500 performances to 19 million people at The Majestic Theatre.

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The closing of Phantom would mean the longest running show crown would go to Chicago, which started in 1996. The Lion King is next, having begun performances in 1997.

Broadway took a pounding during the pandemic, with all theaters closed for more than 18 months. Breaking even usually requires a steady stream of tourists, especially to “Phantom.”

The closure was first reported Friday by the New York Post.