Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, the longest-running show in Broadway history, will play its final performance next year.
The famed chandelier will descend for the last time when the Tony-winning musical plays its final performance (its 13,925th) at the Majestic Theatre February 18, 2023. Prior to closing, the production, which resumed performances October 22, 2021, following the pandemic, will celebrate its 35th anniversary January 26.
The international hit musical is closing its doors because it has been unable to meet its weekly running costs since it returned following the pandemic. However, Phantom was the top box-office draw for years. In terms of grosses and media coverage, it was the Hamilton of its day. To put its staying power in perspective, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods opened during the same season as Phantom. That fairytale-themed musical is currently playing its second Broadway revival and will shut its doors before Phantom ends its first run.
The cast is currently led by Ben Crawford as The Phantom, Emilie Kouatchou as Christine, John Riddle as Raoul, Nehal Joshi as Monsieur André, Craig Bennett as Monsieur Firmin, Raquel Suarez Groen as Carlotta Giudicelli, Maree Johnson as Madame Giry, Carlton Moe as Ubaldo Piangi, and Sara Esty as Meg Giry. At certain performances, Julia Udine plays the role of Christine.
In a statement producer Cameron Mackintosh said, “As a British producer who has been lucky enough to have been producing in New York for over 40 consecutive years, it has been an unparalleled honor to have presented the longest-running musical in Broadway’s history, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. That this legendary show has thrilled New York for nearly 35 phenomenal years is quite astounding to me. 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, and after considerable discussion between The Shuberts, The Really Useful Group, Andrew and myself, we concluded that the right time for Phantom was after the show’s 35th birthday on February 18—a double celebration of Phantom's phenomenal success."
Mackintosh added, "This production has proved to be the greatest triumph for Broadway’s legendary director and producer, Hal Prince, as well as Britain’s celebrated choreographer Dame Gillian Lynne and the inspired Norwegian designer, Maria Björnson, who are all sadly no longer with us. It is impossible to thank enough the thousands of talented American artists and musicians who have performed so brilliantly in this production. The staff at the Shubert’s Majestic Theatre have been extraordinary as have all our creative teams, who have lovingly nurtured the show so magnificently over the years. Gaston Leroux’s opera ghost may be disappearing for now, but there is no doubt that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece will continue to enchant audiences in London and around the world—and one day will return to Broadway. Our gratitude to American audiences falling in love with The Phantom is infinite.”
The ensemble currently features Giselle Alvarez, Polly Baird, Janinah Burnett, Xiaoxiao Cao, David Michael Garry, Chris Georgetti, Kelly Jeanne Grant, Katharine Heaton, Satomi Hofmann, Ted Keegan, Kfir, Kelly Loughran, Scott Mikita, Greg Mills, Justin Peck, Patricia Phillips, Richard Poole, Jessica Radetsky, Lindsay Roberts, Janet Saia, Paul A. Schaefer, Carly Blake Sebouhian, Jeremy Stolle, Carrington Vilmont, Jim Weitzer, Elizabeth Welchand, and Erica Wong.
The Phantom of the Opera has music by Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe), and a book by Stilgoe and Lloyd Webber. The production also features musical staging and choreography by Gillian Lynne, scenic and costume design by Maria Björnson, lighting design by Andrew Bridge, and sound design by Martin Levan with Caddick as music director. Cameron Mackintosh and Lloyd Webber's The Really Useful Group serve as producers. The late Harold Prince directed.
The complete Phantom orchestra—Broadway’s largest—also returned following the pandemic under the continued musical supervision of David Caddick with the musical’s original orchestrations.
The Broadway staging of the London-originated show won seven 1988 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Previews on Broadway began January 9, 1988, with an official opening January 26. The original Broadway cast featured Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman, Judy Kaye, and the late Steve Barton.
The Phantom of the Opera became the longest-running show in Broadway history January 9, 2006, when it surpassed the nearly 18-year run of Cats. The production’s nearly 14,000 performances have been seen by 19.5 million people and grossed $1.3 billion. Phantom has been the largest single generator of income and jobs in Broadway and U.S. theatrical history. In the New York production alone, an estimated 6,500 people (including 450 actors) have been employed during its more than three-decade run.