Broadway’s longest running musical set to close


Canva graphic by Madison Aboud

The Chandelier comes down. “The Phantom of the Opera,” Broadway’s longest running musical, is closing in Feb. “ Phantom” has been on Broadway since 1988 and has had over a million people come through the doors of the Majestic Theater.

Friday Sept. 16, Broadway fans received devastating news. The longest running Broadway musical, “The Phantom of the Opera, will be closing. Just one month after the closing, it will have its 35 anniversary on the Broadway stage.  

“The Phantom of the Opera” is the story of a deformed musician who lives under the opera house. He is known to the performers as The Phantom. All he asks for is money, and he stays out of everyone’s way, but that all changes when he begins to teach Christine Daae, a dancer in the Corps De Ballet. 

As the Phantom begins to fall in love with Christine, a childhood friend comes back into her life. The Phantom becomes jealous and tries to charm Christine with the one thing they both love most: music. 

In the end, the Phantom loses Christine and is left alone. Christine leaves with her childhood sweetheart, leaving everything that she knows of the Phantom behind her. 

“The Phantom of the Opera” isn’t a story for someone who wants a fairytale ending; it’s for the people who want to believe in happily ever after, but understand that it doesn’t always exist. 

“The Phantom of the Opera”  is many theater goers’ first introduction to the stage. In 35 years the show has had 19.8 million people walk through the Majestic Theater’s doors to see the phantasma of “Phantom.

The show has had many different casts over the years. In 2014, Broadway had its first African-American Phantom. Norm Lewis changed the game for not only “Phantom,” but many aspiring young African-American actors who had dreamed of performing in such a major role, but felt they couldn’t because of how they look. In 2022, Broadway cast their first African-American Christine, Emilie Kouatchou. 

For me, “The Phantom of the Opera” was my first introduction to musicals. My father had me watch the 2004 movie when I was six, and from there my love for the show blossomed. 

As I got older, I found myself understanding the show and relating to the show more and more. Phantom is the story of the underdog who is trying to fit it in. All he wants is to be understood and heard. I relate to the Phantom’s wants because I too have been in that position, and I believe that everyone can relate to that. 

As I said before, “Phantom” is something that means the world to me. I have seen the musical live twice and have watched the film adaptations countless times. 

When I found out that the show was closing, I was deeply saddened. It felt like a band-aid was being ripped off before the injury was fully healed. My sadness quickly turned into anger. 

“The Phantom of the Opera” should not close on Broadway. The show has been running for 35 years, and it is a staple in the Broadway world. 

“The Phantom of the Opera” is one of Broadway’s biggest sources of income. According to, “Phantom” brings in $1,241,017,579 per year. The production is number three on the list of Broadway’s top grossing musicals. By taking the show off, Broadway is losing one of their biggest money makers. 

“The Phantom of the Opera” isn’t just one of Broadway’s most popular money makers,. It holds a special place in all theater goers’ hearts. To take away “Phantom,” is to take away  a right of passage for all theater lovers.

When I saw “Phantom” on Broadway in March, it was one of the best experiences of my life. Watching the chandelier rise was one of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed. It was a complete dream come true. Taking that opportunity away from people is like taking away the chance of a lifetime. 

Broadway actors do not make a lot of money. On top of that, it takes a lot of time for actors and actresses to find other shows to perform in. “The Phantom of the Opera” has a cast of 130 people. Come February, there will be 130 performers who are out of a job. It could take months to get cast in a new show which could mean that they have little to no income coming in during that time. 

Some may argue that five months is enough time to have a new job lined up. But five months is not enough time to find a new job when they still have to attend practices and performances for their current one. That is like asking a high school student to go to high school all day long and then attend college during the evenings. It just isn’t possible.

Phantom isn’t an easy show to perform. That is part of why the show is so spectacular: the cast, insane lighting effects, a boat that moves, fire and many set pieces. It is a set that keeps on giving. On top of that, they have a cast that has to sing while maneuvering around all of these different effects. The show has a sense of magic that no other show on Broadway has, and that is what makes it so unique. 

“Phantom of the Opera” holds a lot of memories for millions of people; it has shaped Broadway into what it is today and is the foundation for many musicals that have passed over the Great White Way. Without a foundation, nothing can stand. 

Many people will say it is time for the show to close. It has been around for so long that it will lose its appeal if it isn’t taken off Broadway soon. Individuals believe with Broadway recovering from the effects of COVID-19, it is the right time to get rid of the show. 

I don’t think there is such a thing as a “right time” for a show to close. Especially for a show like “Phantom.” Being one of the later shows to come back when Broadway reopened, it was the most anticipated return of the season. “Phantom of the Opera” kept many people going during lockdown and was a great source of entertainment. Broadway is still recovering from COVID-19, but “Phantom” came back better than ever. 

“The Phantom of the Opera” is well known all around the world. If the show itself isn’t known, its title song gives it away. For such a well known show to close is a heartbreaking choice indeed. 

My love of “The Phantom of the Opera” runs deep. I have grown up listening to the musical and watching the movie whenever I have a bad day. I have cried with the characters, and I have belted out the songs. To watch “Phantom” live was a dream come true, and. I will be going to New York one more time to see it before it closes. 

The curtain will close on “The Phantom of the Opera” for the last time on Feb. 18.