Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera closing; Longest-running musical says goodbye after 35 years

The Phantom of the Opera is officially leaving Broadway on April 16. The show had been running for 35 years with over 70 major theater awards.


The Phantom of the Opera is officially leaving Broadway on April 16. The show had been running for 35 years with over 70 major theater awards.

KIMBERLY EDGAR, Entertainment Editor

  Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera is the longest-running Broadway show in history, its first showing being in 1988. After 35 years of showings, the final date it will be shown – as of now – is April 16, 2023. 

     The play was originally set to close on Fe 18, 2023 but was extended an extra eight weeks according to The Phantom of the Opera has won over 70 major theater awards including “three Olivier Awards, an Evening Standard Award, seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards, and five Outer Critic Circle Awards,” states 

     The story is based on the book by French author Gaston Leroux and focuses on the lead, Christine Daae, and the mysterious Phantom (the disfigured music genius) who haunts the Paris Opera House and takes Christine in as his music protégé. The Phantom falls in love with Christine and she has to choose between the art benefactor, Raoul, and the Phantom. The fear of losing Christine ends up causing the Phantom to grow mad and create a scheme to keep her by his side. 

     Jamie Johns was the music director for the North American tour of Phantom of the Opera, and he believes that the music presented in this play is one of the main reasons it is the longest-running show on Broadway. “The music is positively operatic in nature, and like an opera, the music takes precedence,” Johns says. “The story is important and the acting comes together to tell the story, but it’s the lushness of the score that’s the draw.”

     Drama teacher Mrs. Nancy Green has seen The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway in New York City and felt that it was “undeniably amazing.” Green mentions that the acting and singing were “top-notch” due to the fact that Broadway is home to the “best live performers in the world.” She adds, “the show opens with the swinging chandelier which swings out over the audience’s head and comes crashing to the stage, then the special effects of the glass lake and the Phantom’s lair, in the end, are all spectacular highlights as well.” 

     Even with recent news of its departure from Broadway, Green feels that it is time for it to be shelved. “Phantom has been running for a long time. In fact, I am surprised that it has lasted so long. Truly, it is iconic and a beautiful love story, but I think despite its longevity on Broadway that it is time to shelve it for a while,” says Green, “[at least] until fewer people know it since it has sort of had a long life span as it is and by now most people have seen in live or at least seen the movie.” 

     Although Phantom is closing for now, Green does believe it will come back in the future, “I predict once it has gone away for a while they will eventually take it back out when it is new again and then revive it.”     

     Green finds that people tend to love it or feel indifferent towards the play, “I find there are generally two types of people. Those who love Phantom and become Phantom fanatics or those more like me who are somewhat indifferent to Phantom despite its enduring popularity.” She goes on to say that this play is not her favorite Broadway performance. “I think you either love it or don’t. And I think you have to be somewhat of a hopeless romantic to love it, which I am not.” Green’s favorites include Les Misérables, Come From Away, and Dear Evan Hansen. 

     She believes that it most likely depends on the type of genre people enjoy and that, “if you like mysteries or romance, or super special effects on a live stage, you should definitely try to see [The Phantom of the Opera] before it closes.”