After swooning audiences for over three decades, “The Phantom of the Opera” musical production will take its final bow on Broadway today.
Based on Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel, this iconic show has been a staple of the New York theater scene since its debut in 1988. It’s a bittersweet moment for fans and performers alike as they bid farewell to a production that has become a beloved cultural touchstone.
What Is The Phantom of the Opera?
The Phantom of the Opera is a gothic musical that tells the story of a masked composer who haunts the Paris Opera House and becomes infatuated with a young soprano. The show features iconic numbers such as “All I Ask of You” and “The Music of the Night.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer of hit musicals such as Cats, Evita, and School of Rock, wrote the music for The Phantom of the Opera. The show is based on Gaston Leroux’s 1910 French novel of the same name.
How Did ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ Become Such a Phenomenon?
The musical adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s Gothic novel, The Phantom of the Opera, has captivated generations of theatergoers since its debut in London’s West End in 1986. It quickly became a global sensation.
In 1988, the show made its way to Broadway, where it quickly became a smash hit. Its success is partly due to its lavish production: The New York Times’ Michael Paulson reports that the show’s budget was once $8 million, a hefty sum even by today’s standards.
The show’s passionate fanbase has kept it alive for 35 years. Its record-breaking 13,925 performances, grossing over $1.3 billion, is a testament to its enduring appeal.
The Influence of the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the entertainment industry, and Phantom was not immune to its effects. The pandemic caused all Broadway theaters to close their doors for over 18 months, significantly dropping ticket sales.
Phantom, which had already declined in popularity among locals, struggled to maintain its massive appeal for international travelers.
Despite these challenges, the announcement of Phantom’s upcoming closure resulted in an unprecedented surge in ticket sales, with the show earning $2 million within 24 hours of the announcement.
The Phantom of the Opera: A Bittersweet Farewell
As with all good things, Phantom’s reign must come to an end. Cameron Mackintosh, the producer of the musical, recognizes the importance of closing a show with dignity and grace. Mackintosh, who is also behind other Broadway hits like Cats and Les Misérables, acknowledges the significance of this moment, stating that while it is bittersweet, there is still much to celebrate.
“You don’t want to run a great show into the ground,” Mackintosh told the Times. He added, “It’s always been one of my mantras throughout my long career: There’s an art to closing a show, as well as opening one.”
Phantom’s 35-year run on Broadway has been a remarkable journey. The musical has touched the hearts of millions of people worldwide, becoming a true cultural phenomenon.
Although the end of the musical’s run is sad, it is a momentous occasion that marks the end of an era. As the Phantom takes his final bow, the world will always celebrate the music, the artistry, and the legacy of this magnificent show.