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Why Phantom of The Opera Is Closing On Broadway

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at C of C chapter.

The music of the night has finally come to a close.

Even if you aren’t a fan of musicals, you probably know Phantom of The Opera. A book turned musical (turned movie-musical) with a score by famous composer Andrew Lloyd Webber that tells the tale of the beautiful yet naive opera singer named Christine who becomes the obsession of the sinister and supernatural Phantom of The Opera. The show is a classic, and has been running on Broadway for almost 35 years, which is why its closing has the theater community in a complete uproar.

When I first heard the news that the show would be ending its run on Broadway after three decades, I myself was shocked. I have seen the show numerous times, listened to the soundtrack over and over, and tried (and failed) to hit the high notes and live out my Christine dreams. The show has been on Broadway since before I was even born and I always thought it would outlive me as well. So when the news broke the show would be closing,I was pretty positive I was being pranked.

But alas the rumors are true, having been confirmed by the creative team itself, that Phantom of The Opera will take its final bow on February 18, 2023.

But why close the show? A show that has been a staple of the theater industry for so long and has solidified itself as one of the most popular shows of all time? Why would after so many years would they decide to pull the plug on one of the most well-known musicals in history? Well, I could think of some reasons.

The Majestic Theater that Phantom of The Opera runs in is pretty old and worn down. The theater was built in 1927 and since The Phantom of The Opera began its run there in 1988 there haven’t been a lot of major upgrades. The theater is old and in need of some serious revamping, and if there is ever going to be a new show put on in the Majestic, there needs to be some work done to get the theater back in top-shape.

The show is expensive to run. Like, really expensive. Phantom of The Opera has some pretty elaborate costumes and set pieces (such as the classic chandelier that hangs above the audience) and it takes a lot of people to help keep the show running from makeup artists to musicians. In other productions of the show such as on the West End and in current world tours, the show has been changed to be less costly. This means that the Phantom of The Opera on Broadway is the last original production of the show, but that comes at a hefty cost, and with ticket sales nowhere near what they were pre-pandemic, it seems that the show has become too costly.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer of the show, is not the theater community’s favorite person right now. Webber came under hot fire earlier this year when it was revealed that he announced the closing of his West End Cinderella’s show to the press before he told any of the cast and crew, leaving hundreds of people out of jobs and with broken contracts that had been recently renewed for another year. Andrew Lloyd Webber also allegedly called his cast one night the right before the show started, screaming and yelling at the cast that they had ruined his musical. He also did not make an appearance at the show’s final curtain call, instead having one of the other creative members of the team read a short letter he had written in which he called the show “a costly mistake”. Since the Cinderella fiasco, the name Andrew Lloyd Webber has left a bad taste in many people’s mouths due to his alleged disrespect for those he worked with and how he allegedly treated the cast and crew of Cinderella. Maybe this newfound hatred for the famed composer has spread to his other works, most notably his work for Phantom of The Opera.

Finally, Phantom of The Opera may be closing to make way for something new. There are many shows trying to get onto Broadway (from this season and last season who had to be postponed due to the pandemic). With limited theatre space, some shows have to close to allow new ones to open, and Phantom of The Opera has had its time in the spotlight. It might be time to make way for something new.

Though it is always sad when a show closes, especially one with so many fans and so much history, I am hopeful that we will see Phantom of The Opera on Broadway once again. Even though the show may be different, and not the same as we remembered, Phantom of the Opera will always be a staple of the theatre industry and will go down in history as one of the most famous and beloved musicals of all time.

College of Charleston Class of 2026. Communications Major and Creative Writing Minor. Feminist and LGBTQ+ Activist. Lover of Musicals, Old Bookstores, and Cheesy Horror Movies.