The longest-running Broadway production, “The Phantom of the Opera,” is slated to end in February 2023, making it the biggest casualty of New York theatergoers’ post-pandemic decline.
The musical, which has been a mainstay on Broadway since 1988 and has survived the war, economic downturns, and cultural shifts, will give its final Broadway performance on February 18, a representative said on Friday, according to The Associated Press. It will close less than a month after the organization’s 35th anniversary.
It is an expensive musical to maintain with elaborate sets and costumes, a sizable cast, and an orchestra. Since the show resumed after the pandemic, box office receipts have varied, reaching as high as $1 million a week and falling as low as $850,000.
When it reached $867,997 last week, the producers might have sensed the end was near.
Based on a Gaston Leroux novel, the film “Phantom” tells the tale of a deformed composer who haunts the Paris Opera House and develops a passionate love for Christine, a sweet young soprano. The extravagant songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber include “Masquerade,” “The Music of the Night,” “Angel of Music,” and “All I Ask of You.”
The first production debuted in London in 1986, and more than 145 million people have since seen it in 183 cities and over 70,000 performances in 17 different languages. The musical has been performed more than 13,500 times at The Majestic Theatre on Broadway alone to an audience of 19 million people.
With “Phantom” ending, “Chicago,” which debuted in 1996, would take the title of the longest-running show. The next performance is “The Lion King,” which debuted in 1997.
During the pandemic, Broadway took a beating, with all theaters remaining closed for more than 18 months. A steady stream of visitors is typically necessary to break even, especially for “Phantom.”
The New York Post broke the story about the closure on Friday.