With a heavy heart, we have to tell you that the well-known Broadway musical “Phantom” is about to end for the last time. In the coming weeks, this famous show will say goodbye to its loyal fans after an amazing run that has lasted for years. “Phantom” is one of the most popular Broadway shows of all time.
Its haunting music, stunning performances, and timeless love story keep people coming back for more. Its end means the end of an era, but it also gives us a chance to think about how this show has changed theater and how many lives it has changed. Join us as we say goodbye to “Phantom” and celebrate the memories it has given us that we will never forget.
Musical Phantom Closes on Broadway
The longest-running show in the history of Broadway will end on Sunday, April 16. The Phantom of the Opera, a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber that has been a big hit for more than 35 years, is coming to an end.
Since it opened on Broadway in January 1988, almost 14,000 performances of Phantom have been seen by more than 20 million people, bringing in more than $1.3 billion. The production has hired about 6,500 people, including more than 400 actors. It takes 125 people to put on the show, including the cast, orchestra, and crew. Everything will be over on Monday.
“I got the best job of my life. “There’s no other way to put it,” says Richard Poole, who has been in the ensemble for almost 25 years and has played small parts. Poole says, “It’s given me the chance to feel safe and make plans.” “It gives me structure and discipline in my life, and it helps me keep up with my craft.”
Joyce Hammann has been with the show even longer than Poole: “I’m the concertmaster, which means I play the first violin in Phantom of the Opera. And holy crap, I’ve been there for 33 and a half years.” Hammann’s son Jackson, who just turned 18, is one of the “Phantom babies” of the orchestra.
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“This has been his place away from home,” she says. “People have seen him grow up here. When I couldn’t find a babysitter for Saturday matinees, he got to sit backstage and watch the show.
If you’ve never seen it, The Phantom of the Opera is about a disfigured genius who haunts the Paris Opera House because he’s in love with a young soprano, Christine, who’s in love with a handsome count. People die and a chandelier falls on the stage, but love kind of wins in the end. All of this happens to a romantic, sweeping score.
Lloyd Webber said in 2013, for the show’s 25th anniversary on Broadway, that he wanted to write something with a lot of romance at the time because he had already written Evita, Cats, and other things that didn’t let him go in that direction. When he read Gaston Leroux’s book, he saw the way to do it. He worked with Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart on the movie version, which was directed by Hal Prince.
The late director said about the film’s 25th anniversary, “I think it’s because it’s so romantic and lets people escape into it.”
“It has its own world. And whatever problems they have on the street and in their daily lives, when they come in here it’s like a child stumbling on a fairy tale or something. Only this one is a little bit risky. But the point is that I think they get away from reality for a few hours and spend time in a romantic world.”
“The Phantom being misunderstood is a big deal to a lot of people,” says Ben Crawford, who is now known as the last Phantom to haunt Broadway’s Majestic Theatre. Like Phantoms who have come to the show more than once, he has a special relationship with the Phans. Some even send him art they made themselves.
“They saw that I had dinosaurs in my room,” he says,
“because when I play with my kids on FaceTime, my son loves dinosaurs. So they 3D printed this velociraptor that looks like it’s wearing a tuxedo and a phantom mask.” And it was in a box with holes in it so it could breathe when it came to my dressing room.”
But even the show that has been on Broadway the longest has to end at some point. Even before the pandemic, says Phantom’s producer Cameron Mackintosh, the show was already losing money. So, in September of last year, he and Andrew Lloyd Webber set a date for the end.
Mackintosh said over the phone from London,
“We made money for the first time the following week.” “So you see, you made the right choice at the right time. And, you know, I think Phantom of the Opera is back in people’s minds because they’re saying it’s one of the greatest successes of all time, which is what everyone hopes for when a great show ends.”
So, Phantom is going out with a bang—it has been selling out again. David Caddick has been in the music business since the beginning. In 1984, he was the music director for a staged reading on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s estate. He is in charge of the last shows on Broadway.
“I just don’t know how I’ll feel the morning of April 17.” “Right now, it’s about keeping what we have, which means keeping the show interesting. I still tell the actors and the orchestra what to do. We will try to keep every part of the show the same until the very last note.”
There will be some surprises at the end of the show. Actor Richard Poole says the ending is sad and happy at the same time. “I was already leaving,” he says. “So, I’m in a great place in my life because I had something to look forward to, which was nothing!” It’s time for the other 124 people who work for The Phantom of the Opera to find new jobs.