5/30/2024 6:44:05 AM
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'The Phantom of the Opera' closes on Broadway after 35 years


'The Phantom of the Opera' closes on Broadway after 35 years

NEW YORK —-- The final curtain came down Sunday on New york city's production of "The Phantom of the Opera," ending Broadway's longest-running program with thunderous standing ovations, champagne toasts and gold and silver confetti rupturing from its popular chandelier.

It was program No. 13,981 at the Majestic Theatre and it ended with a reprise of "The Music of the Night" carried out by the current cast, previous stars in the program-- including original star Sarah Brightman-- and crew members in street clothing.

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Andrew Lloyd Webber required to the phase last in a black fit and black tie and devoted the last show to his child, Nick, who died last month after a protracted battle with stomach cancer and pneumonia. He was 43.
" When he was a little kid, he heard some of this music," Lloyd Webber stated. Brightman, holding his hand, concurred: "When Andrew was writing it, he was right there.

Charles Sykes

Andrew Lloyd Webber and the cast of "The Phantom of the Opera" appear at the curtain call following the last Broadway efficiency at the Majestic Theatre on Sunday, April 16, 2023, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP).

Producer Cameron Mackintosh gave some in the crowd hope they would see the Phantom again, and possibly faster than they think.

" The one question I keep getting asked once again and once again-- will the Phantom return? Having actually been a producer for over 55 years, I've seen all the terrific musicals return, and 'Phantom' is one of the greatest," he stated. "So it's just a matter of time.".

The musical-- a fixture on Broadway given that opening on Jan. 26, 1988-- has weathered recessions, war, terrorism and cultural shifts. But the prolonged pandemic may have been the final stroke: It's a pricey musical to sustain, with sophisticated sets and costumes along with a big cast and orchestra. The curtain call Sunday showed how out of step "Phantom" is with the rest of Broadway but likewise how remarkable a big, splashy musical can be.
" If there ever was a bang, we're going out with a bang. It's going to be a great night," said John Riddle just before rushing inside to play Raoul for the final time.
Video listed below: See more from the moment New York's mayor presented a key to the city to Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Based upon a novel by Gaston Leroux, "Phantom" informs the story of a deformed composer who haunts the Paris Opera House and falls incredibly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine. Webber's luxurious tunes include "Masquerade," "Angel of Music" and "All I Ask of You.".
In addition to Riddle, the New York production said goodbye with Emilie Kouatchou as Christine and Laird Mackintosh stepping in for Ben Crawford as the Phantom. Crawford was unable to sing because of a bacterial infection however was cheered at the curtain call, stepping to the side of the phase. The Phantom waved him over to stand beside him, Riddle and Kouatchou.
There was a video discussion of many of the actors who had played key roles in the show for many years, and the orchestra seats were crowded with Phantoms, raouls and christines. The late director Hal Prince, choreographer Gillian Lynne and set and outfit designer Maria Björnson were also honored.
Lin-Manuel Miranda participated in, as did Glenn Close, who carried out in two separate Broadway productions of Lloyd Webber's "Sunset Boulevard." Free champagne was used at intermission and flutes of it were distributed onstage at the drape call.
Riddle initially saw "The Phantom of the Opera" in Toronto as a 4-year-old kid. "Now, 30-some odd years later on, I'm closing the show on Broadway.
Kouatchou, who ended up being the very first Black female in the role in New York, didn't think the show would ever stop. "I was like, 'OK, I'm going to do my run, 'Phantom' is going to continue on and they'll be more Christines of color,'" she stated. "But this is it.".
The very first production opened in London in 1986 and ever since the program has actually been seen by more than 145 million individuals in 183 cities and carried out in 17 languages over 70,000 performances. On Broadway alone, it has grossed more than $1.3 billion.
When "Phantom" opened in New York, "Die Hard" remained in theater, Adele was born, and floppy discs were at the cutting edge of technology. A postage stamp cost 25 cents, and the year's most popular songs were "Roll With It" by Steve Winwood, "Faith" by George Michael and Rick Astley's "Never Gon na Give You Up.".
Critics were favorable, with the New York Post calling it "a piece of impeccably crafted musical comedy," the Daily News explaining it as "amazing entertainment," and The New York Times stating it "wants absolutely nothing more than to shower the audience with dream and enjoyable.".
Lloyd Webber's other musicals include "Cats," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Evita," "Sunset Boulevard" and "School of Rock." The closing of "Phantom" indicates the composer is left with one program on Broadway, the seriously mauled "Bad Cinderella.".
Video below: Hear more of Andrew Lloyd Webber's remarks after being honored in New York.

The closing of "Phantom," initially arranged for February, was pressed to mid-April after a flood of revived interest and ticket sales that pressed weekly grosses past $3 million. The closing means the longest-running show crown now goes to "Chicago," which began in 1996. "The Lion King" is next, having actually begun efficiencies in 1997.
Broadway took a pounding during the pandemic, with all theaters closed for more than 18 months. Some of the most popular shows-- "Hamilton," "The Lion King" and "Wicked"-- rebounded well, however other shows have struggled.
Breaking even normally requires a consistent stream of tourists, particularly for "Phantom," and visitors to the city have not gone back to pre-pandemic levels. The pandemic also rose expenses for all programs, including routine COVID-19 testing and safety officers on personnel. The Phantom became a poster young boy for Broadway's return-- after all, he is partly masked.
Fans can always catch the Phantom elsewhere. The flagship London production celebrated its 36th anniversary in October, and there are productions in Japan, Greece, Australia, Sweden, Italy, South Korea and the Czech Republic. One is about to open in Bucharest, and another will open in Vienna in 2024.
Kouatchou, who strolled the red carpet before the last show in a hot pink clinging gown with a sweetie neck line and an eliminated, stated the bitterness was undercut by the big send-off. Many Broadway shows that close slink into the darkness uncelebrated.
" It sort of sweetens it, right?" she stated. "We get to celebrate at the end of this. We get to all come together and consume and laugh and speak about the show and all the lows and highs. It's ending on a big note.".

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Elwood Hill

Elwood Hill is an award-winning journalist with more than 18 years' of experience in the industry. Throughout his career, John has worked on a variety of different stories and assignments including national politics, local sports, and international business news. Elwood graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and immediately began working for Breaking Now News as lead journalist.