‘Phantom of the Opera’ ends its Broadway run after 35 years

When the curtain came down on the New York production of Phantom of the Opera a few hours ago, the long running show stopped the clock on the longest running musical on Broadway.

The musical, which opened as Australia celebrated its bicentennial on 26th January 1988, secured its place in the history books as the longest running musical many years ago. It grabbed the title from another long running Andrew Lloyd Webber work, Cats. 

Based on a French novel, the show made its debut in London’s West End 1986. It tells the story of Christine, a beautiful Soprano working in the Paris Opera House who becomes the obsession of masked musical genius who lives in the subterranean labyrinth beneath the theatre.

Andrew Lloyd Webber created the music, while Charles Hart wrote the lyrics, with additional lyrical contributions from Richard Stilgoe.  Lloyd Webber and Hart wuld taler reunite to create the musical Aspects of Love. 

The leads from the British production transferred to Broadway for the show’s opening. Michael Crawford played the titular Phantom, while Sarah Brightman originated the role of Christine.

With 13,981 performances under its belt, the last show was performed by Emilie Kouatchou as Christine and Laird Mackintosh as the Phantom. MacIntosh getting an unexpected role in Broadway history, as he was the understudy for star Ben Crawford who was ill for the final weeks of the show.

The Majestic Theatre has been the shows home for the entire 35 year run of the show, prior to that the theatre was home to another long running show 42nd Street. Across the world the musical has been seen by more than 140 million people and grossed over $6 billion in revenue.

After the final performance of Phantom, Broadway’s longest running show is now the 1996 revival of Chicago. It’s currently played over 10,000 performances but will have to run for another decade if it ever hopes to topple Phantom’s massive record.

The Phantom of the Opera is no longer on Broadway, but he is there… inside your mind.

OIP Staff


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