Broadway's Longest-Running Show Closes After 35 Years

Sunday was the final curtain call for 'Phantom'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 17, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
Broadway's Longest-Running Show Closes After 35 Years
Andrew Lloyd Webber and the cast of "The Phantom of the Opera" appear at the curtain call following the final Broadway performance at the Majestic Theatre on Sunday, April 16, 2023, in New York.   (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

The final curtain came down Sunday on New York's production of The Phantom of the Opera, ending Broadway’s longest-running show with thunderous standing ovations, champagne toasts and gold and silver confetti bursting from its famous chandelier, the AP reports. It was show No. 13,981 at the Majestic Theatre and it ended with a reprise of “The Music of the Night” performed by the current cast, previous actors in the show—including original star Sarah Brightman—and crew members in street clothes. Andrew Lloyd Webber took to the stage last in a black suit and black tie and dedicated the final show to his son, Nick, who died last month after a protracted battle with gastric cancer and pneumonia. He was 43.

“When he was a little boy, he heard some of this music,” Lloyd Webber said. Brightman, holding his hand, agreed: “When Andrew was writing it, he was right there. So his son is with us. Nick, we love you very much.” Producer Cameron Mackintosh gave some in the crowd hope they would see the Phantom again, and perhaps sooner than they think. “The one question I keep getting asked again and again—will the Phantom return? Having been a producer for over 55 years, I've seen all the great musicals return, and Phantom is one of the greatest,” he said. “So it's only a matter of time.”

The first production opened in London (where it's still running) in 1986 and since then the show has been seen by more than 145 million people in 183 cities and performed in 17 languages over 70,000 performances. On Broadway alone, it has grossed more than $1.3 billion. Emilie Kouatchou, who became the first Black woman in the role of Christine in New York, didn't think the show would ever stop. “I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to do my run, Phantom is going to continue on and they'll be more Christines of color,' ” she said. “But this is it.” The closing means the longest-running show crown on Broadway now goes to Chicago, which started there in 1996. The Lion King is next, having begun performances in 1997.

(More Phantom Of The Opera stories.)

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