‘Phantom of the Opera’ extends Broadway run to April 2023


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Lydia Lutchman, Staff Writer

Broadway’s longest-running show, “The Phantom of the Opera,” came to the Big Apple in 1988 and has inhabited the Majestic Theater for a total of 34 years so far. It was announced on Sept. 16 that the show is scheduled to close in February 2023 due to low ticket sales following the pandemic, meaning that the last show would have come to an end less than a month after its 35th anniversary. Soon after the announcement of its closure, the Broadway show saw its ticket sales skyrocket, making the total amount the box office brought in during that week to be $1.2 million.

Along with inflation and its massive loss of ticket sales during the time Broadway was closed, “Phantom of the Opera” also has a high budget to sustain with elaborate costumes and stage sets along with 130 cast members. The large increase in ticket sales once the closing date was announced may have swayed the minds of the owner, the Shubert Organization, as it was announced on Nov. 29 by producer Cameron Mackintosh that the musical has delayed its closing until April 16, 2023.

This delighted fans of all ages everywhere, especially at the University, as they now have another chance to see a Broadway staple. Musical enthusiast and sophomore Andrea Dueñas said, “After a 35-year run, I was saddened to hear ‘Phantom’ on Broadway was closing. With it being a musical, which has conserved every detail, from its music to stage performance, it has never failed to captivate and mesmerize its audience.”

Dueñas continued, “I consider it a show everyone should get a chance to see; luckily with it being extended until further next year, I will have the chance to experience its magic one last time, and I encourage others to do so as well.”  

“The Phantom of the Opera” musical is based on the 1910 novel of the same name by Gaston Leroux and was adapted by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber into a musical sensation that first ran at a West End theater in London, England, in 1986. In its opening year on Broadway in 1988, the musical won seven Tony awards, including Best Musical.

Lloyd Webber’s musical tells the story of a deformed and masked music composer, who haunts a famous Paris Opera House, and his infatuation with the young and beautiful soprano Christine. He develops a lust for Christine and trains her to be a proficient opera singer. As her success grows, Christine finds her popularity growing as well, while a handsome man begins to show interest in her, making the Phantom jealous and causing him to harshly torment the opera company.

The musical is described by many as being a must-see for those visiting New York City, and it is hard to imagine what Broadway would be like without even mentioning “Phantom of the Opera.” The extension has quelled some sadness as there would still be eight more weeks to visit the haunted opera house before it closes. Unfortunately, the production has already made it clear that this will be the first and only extension as the Majestic Theatre will be closed for renovations. The orchestra of this musical contains 27 talented individuals and is also the largest for any Broadway show.

Lloyd Webber has even mentioned that if it was not due for major refurbishments that the Phantom would haunt the theater for a while longer, but alas, fans of the show are not completely disappointed as some professionals within the theater industry have begun to speculate that the musical would return at a later date in a more “cost-effective” way, whether that be downsizing the orchestra or minimizing set and costume changes. This is what happened to previous works that Mackintosh was a part of like “Les Misérables,” which ran on Broadway starting from 1986 to 2003 and then returned again as revivals in the years 2006 and 2014. 

While it may seem like this majestic beauty is going away, it will not be for long and is bound to return to Broadway one day. The title of the longest-running Broadway show would go to “Chicago” next, which started performances in 1996. When “Phantom” closes in April 2023, the musical will have played a total of 13,981 performances on Broadway.