The theater staged a pandemic comeback, but audiences didn’t catch the memo.
Nearly a year after Broadway pulled up its curtains – marking the end of more than 18 months of COVID closures – one of its most famous shows announced it will go dark forever. Phantom of the Opera, the longest-running show in Broadway history, schedules its final performance in February. The not entirely unexpected move marks the end of 35 years at the Majestic Theater and an era when many adult theatergoers could not imagine Broadway without the white mask and red rose of the iconic marquee.
Like many shows across the country, “Phantom” failed to recall the audiences that sustained it before brutal pandemic shutdowns sapped the lifeblood of the industry. Conflicting messages regarding masking in theaters, ongoing COVID-related cancellations, and a persistent pattern of viewers staying close to home have combined to create a dangerous landscape for the performing arts.
Many cultural figures reported that, try as they might, very few shows — aside from pop-culture phenomena like Hamilton — drew the kind of crowds that could fill the box office long-term. “Phantom” hasn’t been able to keep up in this harsh new environment, as the New York Post reported that the show has lost about $1 million a month since it reopened last October.
There is a pop-up page on the show’s website announcing the news and confirming that the final performance will be on Saturday February 18th. “Phantom” celebrates its 35th anniversary in January.
The Phantom of the Opera opened in 1988 and has played more than 13,700 performances. Directed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Charles Hart and a book by Webber and Richard Stilgoe, the musical is based on the 1910 French novel of the same name by Gaston Leroux lives in the candlelit underworld of the chambers beneath the Paris Opera.
While the show hasn’t always garnered critical acclaim, it has become a popular Broadway staple, winning seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in the year it opened. Since then, according to figures compiled by the Broadway League and reported by the New York Times, the show has been seen by 19.8 million people on Broadway and has grossed $1.3 billion.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-09-16/phantom-of-the-opera-to-close-on-broadway-as-pandemic-fallout-continues ‘Phantom of the Opera’ to close on Broadway in February 2023