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'The Phantom of the Opera' bows out of Broadway after 35 years

"The Phantom of the Opera" cast appear at the curtain call following the final Broadway performance at the Majestic Theatre on Sunday, April 16, 2023, in New York.
"The Phantom of the Opera" cast appear at the curtain call following the final Broadway performance at the Majestic Theatre on Sunday, April 16, 2023, in New York. Copyright Charles Sykes/2023 Invision
Copyright Charles Sykes/2023 Invision
By Thomas Bolton
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After almost 14,000 performances, the curtain finally fell on the longest-running show in Broadway history amid losses sustained during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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After 35 years and almost 14,000 performances, the curtain fell on 'The Phantom of the Opera' at the Majestic Theatre in New York on Sunday night, as the longest-running show in Broadway history took its final bow.

Tickets for its farewell show sold for well over €400 online. But that didn't deter the 1,600 spectators who packed the sold-out venue to see the final performance, which concluded with a rapturous standing ovation and a shower of gold confetti.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical premiered in 1988 and has been seen by 20 million people, grossing over €1.2 billion.

But despite weathering more than three decades worth of terrorism, financial collapse and war, the producers decided to end a record-breaking run after posting losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The production is estimated to have employed 6,500 people, including 450 actors.

"In our wildest childish dreams, we could never have imagined the success like Phantom," said Webber's production collaborator, Cameron Mackintosh.

Charles Sykes/2023 Invision
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, 16 April 2023Charles Sykes/2023 Invision

Cast members past and present took to the stage at the end of Sunday's performance in New York, alongside Webber, who dedicated the show to his son Nicholas, who died of cancer at the end of March.

"Thank you all, from everybody. And thank you New York for being such a wonderful home for us," he said to the crowd. 

The melodrama about a disfigured genius who haunts the Paris Opera and whose heart pines for the young soprano Christine is an adaptation of Gaston Leroux's French novel, which won seven Tony Awards in 1988. 

'The Phantom of the Opera' continues to be performed at Her Majesty's Theatre in London's West End, and a Spanish version produced by Webber and Antonio Banderas is set to premiere in October in Madrid.

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