NEW YORK (Associated Press) — Broadway’s longest running show, “The Phantom of the Opera,” is set to end in February 2023, the biggest casualty yet of post-pandemic dilution in theater audiences in New York.
A spokesperson told The Associated Press on Friday that the musical — which has been on Broadway since 1988, weathering recessions, war and cultural shifts — will play its last performance on Broadway on February 18. The shutdown will come less than a month after its 35th anniversary.
It is a costly musical to maintain, with elaborate sets and costumes as well as a large ensemble and orchestra. Box office earnings have fluctuated since the show reopened after the pandemic – rising to over $1 million a week but also dropping to around $850,000. Last week, its price reached $867,997 and producers may have seen the writing on the wall.
Inspired by a novel by Gaston Leroux, “Phantom” tells the story of a deranged composer who haunts the Paris Opera and falls in love with an innocent young Christine. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit songs include “Masquerade”, Angel of Music, “All I Ask of You” and “The Music of the Night”.
It premiered in London in 1986, and since then the show has been watched by more than 145 million people in 183 cities and has been presented in 17 languages in more than 70,000 shows. On Broadway alone, the musical has given more than 13,500 performances to 19 million people at the Majestic Theatre.
The closure of “Phantom” will mean that the crown of the longest-running show will go to “Chicago,” which began in 1996. “The Lion King” is next, having begun shows in 1997.
Broadway has been heavily bombed during the pandemic, with all theaters closed for more than 18 months. Tie-breaking usually requires a steady influx of tourists, especially the “Phantom”.
The shutdown was first reported on Friday by the New York Post.