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phantom of the opera final curtain call
phantom of the opera final curtain call
The closing curtain call for Broadway's "The Phantom of the Opera" on April 16, 2023 (Photograph by Ruthie Fierberg)

Broadway

Andrew Lloyd Webber Reflects on the End of an Era: The Phantom of the Opera’s Broadway Curtain Call and the Future of Theater

NOTE: This article is 11 months old and may not include the most recent information.

In a heartfelt essay published in the New York Times, legendary composer Andrew Lloyd Webber opened up about the closing of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, the state of the theater industry, and his thoughts on its future.

On April 16, 2023, Broadway bid farewell to its longest-running show, The Phantom of the Opera. After an extraordinary 35-year run and 13,981 performances, the iconic production took its final bow. Initially scheduled to close on February 18, 2023, the show’s run was extended due to overwhelming demand for tickets in its last few months.

In his essay, Webber expressed his sorrow at the closure: “It’s a personal loss to see the close of this wonderful creation, the last Hal Prince production on Broadway, with its almost 30-piece orchestra and one of the grandest designs that have ever been seen in the theater. The irony is that this past season was its best ever. Perhaps it will rise again.”

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Regarding Broadway’s current challenges, Webber wrote, “I truly don’t know the answer to the ever-daunting challenges of producing Broadway musicals. But I do know that all of us who believe in Broadway must knock our heads together if we care about the kind of future it will have. Shows like “The Lion King,” “Hamilton” and “Phantom” are the exception, not the rule.”

The Phantom of the Opera remains an unparalleled achievement in theater history, with its opulent sets and costumes, large cast, and Broadway’s largest orchestra – perfectly complementing its rich score and timeless love story.

Among the many reasons The Phantom of the Opera has captivated audiences worldwide for decades are its iconic musical numbers. Songs like “The Music of the Night,” “All I Ask of You,” and “The Phantom of the Opera” transport listeners into the haunting and passionate world of the Paris Opera House. Each number showcases the extraordinary talents of the cast, the soaring orchestrations, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s remarkable ability to create memorable, emotionally charged melodies. It’s no wonder these tunes have become synonymous with the musical and continue to resonate with audiences today.

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Although the Broadway chapter has closed, The Phantom of the Opera continues to captivate audiences worldwide. The London production, which marked its 36th anniversary on October 9, still thrives, while international performances take place in Japan, Greece, and Sweden. Upcoming productions are set to open in South Korea, Prague, and Italy, and Cameron Mackintosh’s reimagined Phantom will break box office records in the UK, the U.S., and Australia before heading to Vienna in 2024.

Trevor Decker
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