By Grace Torgerson
The chandelier has fallen for the final time and “The Phantom of The Opera” has closed on Broadway. “Phantom” is the longest running show in Broadway history, closing just weeks after it’s 35th anniversary. The original closing date was set to be in February 2023 but was later pushed to mid-April because of a huge increase in ticket sales. This increase was caused by the announcement of the closing.
The musical was set to close for a plethora of reasons but there was one big reason. The show wasn’t making enough money to keep up the repair costs. Up until the week of the closing announcement, the show had lost money every week it stayed open. Many people thought that they could go see it someday; that it would never close, and people took that for granted. The COVID pandemic has also affected “The Phantom” just like it affected the whole of Broadway. In 2019 there were 35 shows running and those shows grossed around $41.7 million, this year there are 33 shows running and have grossed around $37.5 million. That’s better than the $32.5 million that the 33 shows grossed last year but still not up to the pre-pandemic levels.
“The Phantom of The Opera” is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It is about the Phantom, a masked musician who falls in love with a young soprano named Christine. It is a massive production with a 27-person orchestra and a crashing chandelier that falls from the ceiling of the Majestic Theater.
Over the time that “The Phantom” has been open, it has been seen by 19.9 million people, had 13,961 performances, has employed about 6,500 people, and has grossed about $1.3 billion. And although it had been extended once, it will not be extended again. After “The Phantom” closes, the Majestic Theater is getting some much-needed renovations; it has not been renovated since “The Phantom” opened there in 1988, 35 years ago.
Although it is closing now, there are still productions all over the world. There are currently productions in London, England and Melbourne, Australia. There is also a version being made in Mandarin scheduled to open next year in China, and actor Antonio Banderas is working on a version in Spanish.
Unfortunately, “The Phantom of The Opera” isn’t the only major show that is closing this year. For various reasons there are many other well-known or popular productions closing. “The Music Man” at the Hudson Theater closed on January 15, 2023. “Into The Woods” at the St. James Theater closed on January 8, 2023. “Death of a Salesman” at the Hudson Theater closed on January 15, 2023. “A Strange Loop” at the Lyceum Theater closed on January 15, 2023. “Beetlejuice” at the Marquis Theater closed on January 8, 2023.
“The Phantom of The Opera” was one of the shows that the Spring Grove Drama Club saw when we went to New York City this past June and honestly, I am glad that I got to see it before it closed. “Beetlejuice” was another now closed that I saw in June. “Beetlejuice” was my favorite show that I saw, and “Phantom” was phenomenal as well. When shows as big as these close, it’s kind of bittersweet. I would love to go see them again, but I can’t. I think that it just makes those moments that I spent watching the musicals even more priceless, especially since I spent it with the people that I’m closest to, the drama club. When I look up at the Playbills on my wall I start to think about how lucky I am to have seen these amazing shows before they closed.
Grace Torgerson is a student at Spring Grove High School. She is one of 17 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 24th year.