“The Phantom of the Opera,” the longest-running show in Broadway history, will close after 35 years.
The legendary show will celebrate its anniversary in January, and then say goodbye at a final performance Feb. 18 at Broadway’s Majestic Theatre, a show spokesperson said.
The show will conclude with an eye-popping 13,925 performances.
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 $1 million a week but also dropping to around $850,000. Last week, it hit $867,997 and producers may have seen the writing on the wall.
Created by three musical theater legends — composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Hal Prince and producer Cameron Mackintosh — “Phantom” premiered on London’s West End in October 1986 before opening on Broadway on Jan. 26, 1988.
“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,” Mackintosh said in a statement.
Based on the 1910 French novel of the same name by Gaston Leroux, “Phantom” tells the story of a mysterious mask-wearing opera lover who haunts the Paris Opera House and becomes obsessed with a young, beautiful soprano.
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.
Though “Phantom” will vanish from Broadway, the musical, which has been performed in 183 cities around the world, is still going strong in other parts of the globe.
The London production, which closed at the height of the pandemic in 2020, has returned with a smaller orchestra and other changes to help keep costs lower.
A new production opened last month in Australia, and the first Mandarin-language production is scheduled to open in China next year.