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The New York Post: ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ Broadway’s longest-running show, is closing at end of the year: sources

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It’s over now, the music of the night.

“The Phantom of the Opera,” Broadway’s longest-running show, will close at the end of the year, multiple sources told the New York Post. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical plans to play through the holidays, and then cap off its storied run at the end of December. I suspect the final performance will be Dec. 31 as the show’s iconic “Masquerade” number is set around New Year’s Eve.

Other sources claim the show will close in the spring after a large 35th anniversary bash.

“Phantom,” sources said, has struggled to recover since it reopened in October 2021 following the pandemic closure, and is losing some $1 million a month. 

When reached by The Post, a “Phantom” rep denied that the musical is closing.

Since its opening night on Jan. 26, 1988, the show, produced by Cameron Mackintosh and Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, has played 13,733 performances over nearly 35 years. 

Broadway’s second-longest-running show, the revival of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s “Chicago,” is well behind in the race, having been running 25 years and playing 10,090 performances.

Lloyd Webber’s lush songs (with lyrics by Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe), Harold Prince’s innovative staging, Gillian Lynne’s balletic choreography and the lavish set and costume designs by Maria Björnson are seared into the minds of generations of theatergoers.

“Phantom” first opened on Broadway with its original London stars, Michael Crawford as the masked romantic and Sarah Brightman as his beloved soprano Christine. The production won seven Tony Awards, including Best Actor for Crawford and Best Musical.

Ben Crawford currently plays the Phantom and Emilie Kouatchou is Christine Daaé.

A flop movie version, starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum, was released in 2004.

Lloyd Webber also put on an unsuccessful sequel, called “Love Never Dies,” in London in 2010 that toured but never made it to Broadway.

British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber holds a “Phantom of the Opera” mask as he attends the 74th Annual Tony Awards on Sept. 26, 2021, in New York City.

(Getty Images)

“Phantom” continues to play in London at Her Majesty’s Theatre — soon to be renamed His Majesty’s Theatre following the death of Queen Elizabeth II — and recently had some of its original staging revised.

That could be a clue to the musical’s future. While this “Phantom” will close for good in December, it would not be shocking to see it return in a much cheaper iteration in a few years. Mackintosh pulled the same maneuver with London’s “Les Misérables” at the Queen’s Theatre. New director, slimmer set, more projections.

For now, the Shubert Organization will be pleased. The Majestic Theatre, the best musical house on Broadway, has finally been freed up after nearly four decades. The right show could be grossing $3 million a week there, rather than $1 million from “Phantom.”

In fact, Shubert chair Bob Wankel wanted the Majestic for the upcoming musical “Some Like It Hot,” but was reluctant to give “Phantom” the boot. The theater that new show is currently going into, the Shubert, has about 350 fewer seats.

Lloyd Webber may be back to Broadway soon enough. The terrifically fun London Palladium revival of his “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” has New York in its sights after it plays Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre this winter. 

And a revamped Broadway version of the composer’s musical “Cinderella” at the Imperial Theatre will be announced as soon as next week.

For now, though, it’s time to pack up the chandelier.

This story originally appeared as an exclusive on the New York Post’s website.

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