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The Phantom of The Opera Closes its Doors on Broadway

“The Phantom of the Opera,” the longest-running Broadway musical in New York, will finally close on February 18, 2023. The famed musical adored by many worldwide, written by British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, will have had a 35-year run on the Great White Way.

The pandemic didn’t spare the legendary Broadway musical as theater doors remained locked during an unforeseen period of 18 months. Even though the celebrated show remains a real attraction for New Yorkers and worldwide tourists, “The Phantom of the Opera” remains a very expensive musical to make with elaborate sets, extravagant costumes, a big cast and a large orchestra. Since the reopening, several famous shows have picked up quickly, yet the tourist flow and the number of theatre-goers are not yet at pre-Covid levels.

“The Phantom of the Opera” is based on a novel written by French writer Gaston Leroux who initially serialized it in the magazine Le Gaulois from 1909 to 1910. It is a Gothic novel that intertwines romance, horror, mystery and tragedy and tells the tale of Erik, a physically disfigured composer, who lives inside the Paris Opera and falls head over heels in love with Christine, a young orphan to whom he gives singing lessons. She rapidly becomes a huge success.

The book, initially not very popular, is now considered a classic in French literature. Lloyd Webber, with lyricists Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe, wrote the musical in 1986, creating some well-known songs such as “Masquerade,” “Angel of music,” “All I Ask of You” and “The Music of the Night.”

The musical premiered in London’s West End on October 9, 1986, and on January 26, 1988, the renowned show opened at the Majestic Theater on Broadway in New York.

“The Phantom of the Opera” has been adapted numerous times for the big screen, yet perhaps the best-known and most beloved version by movie buffs and film critics is the 1925 silent horror film adaptation which starred Lon Chaney. The Phantom has always been best known for his mask, but at that time, it was the iconic image of the character’s unmasked face that made audiences scream in theaters upon the face’s reveal. Chaney himself applied the make-up and prosthetics which were ahead of their time. The 1925 film was made on a soundstage in Hollywood where the elaborate Paris Opera House set was recreated. 

By the time the show closes after thousands upon thousands of performances, millions of theatergoers will have seen the musical which has been performed in 183 cities worldwide in 17 languages. The show also launched the career of soprano Sarah Brightman who originated the role of Christine, a role composer Lloyd Webber specifically wrote for her. Brightman was married to him at the time.

In a statement to the media, 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.”


The New York production currently stars Ben Crawford as the Phantom and Emilie Kouatchou as Christine. Ticket prices range from $29 to $169, with premium tickets also available.