With cheers and tears, ‘Phantom of the Opera’ completes Broadway run record

“The Phantom of the Opera” wrapped up the longest run in Broadway history Sunday night with a glitzy finale that even got its own screen, with the production’s signature chandelier hitting the stage at the Majestic Theater for the 13,981th time. call

The invitation-only crowd was packed with Broadway fans, including the cast of the show’s 35-year run and numerous theater artists (including Lin-Manuel Miranda) and fans who won a special ticket lottery. Some are dressed in phantom regalia; A man arrives in the character’s fancy Red Death costume.

The finale, which ran from 5:22 to 7:56 p.m., was repeatedly punctuated by applause not only for the main cast, but also for beloved props including a monkey music box and gondola-like scenery being rowed. Through an underground lake decorated with candles. After the final curtain call, the stage performers who made the show’s elaborate scene last night were called to the stage for a standing ovation.

“It’s so amazing, what really happened,” composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who wrote the show’s towering score, said after the final curtain as he dedicated the performance to his son Nicholas. Died three weeks ago.

Lloyd Webber spoke with his longtime collaborator and executive producer of the show, Cameron Mackintosh. They invited alumni from the original Broadway production to join them on stage, and displayed on the back wall of the theater pictures of deceased members of the original creative team, including its director Hal Prince and every actor who played the two main roles. Phantom and Christine, his passionate young soprano).

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At the end of the evening, Mackintosh acknowledged a ton of chandeliers, which were lowered from the ceiling to a round of applause, and the crowd was showered with gold and silver metallic confetti, some of which hung on ribbons from the chandelier.

Hours before curtain, fans gathered across the street, waving, taking pictures and hoping to somehow get a spare ticket. Among them was Lexi Luhrs, 25, of Washington, in a phantom get-up: a black cape, a homemade mask, plus a fedora, vest and bow tie, as well as mask earrings and a mask necklace. “I’m here to celebrate a program that means so much to us,” Luhrs said.

“Phantom” was, apparently, a huge hit on Broadway, playing to 20 million people and grossing $1.36 billion since its opening in January 1988. And the show has become an international phenomenon, playing in 17 languages ​​in 45 countries and grossing more than $6 billion. Worldwide. But the Broadway run eventually succumbed to the twin effects of inflation and declining tourism following the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.

It closes on an unexpected high note — not just the high E that Christine sings on the title track. When the closing was announced last September, sales soared, fans who already loved the music flocked to see it, and procrastinators realized it might be their last chance; The original February finale date was delayed by two months due to demand, and the show was again a top-grosser on Broadway, playing to rapturous audiences and grossing more than $3 million a week.

“It’s almost unheard of for a show to come off as successful,” McIntosh said.

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After the final performance, the show’s company and its alumni gathered for an invitation-only celebration at the Metropolitan Club, with the show’s iconic masquerade projected onto a marble staircase.

The show, with music by Lloyd Webber and songs by Charles Hart, is still running in London, where the orchestra was downsized and the set changed during the pandemic shutdown to cut running costs, and it is currently playing in the Czech Republic. , Japan, South Korea and Sweden. New products are set to open in China next month, Italy in July and Spain in October.

Will it ever return to New York? “Absolutely, at some point,” McIntosh said in an interview. “But it’s time for the show to rest.”

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