NEW YORK (PIX11) – “The Phantom of the Opera” ended its historic 35-year run on Broadway Sunday night.
“The Phantom of the Opera” opened at the Majestic Theatre in 1988 and ended up becoming the longest-running show in Broadway history. In nearly 14,000 performances, the musical sold around 20 million tickets.
For cast members, crew, orchestra members and fans, Sunday night was bittersweet.
“We feel how much the audiences love the show. It’s like no other show I’ve done … There’s nothing like ‘Phantom,'” said Laird Mackintosh, who is playing the Phantom on closing night. “If audiences are feeling a melancholy that the show is closing, I am most certainly feeling it.”
“The Phantom of the Opera” had been the largest single generator of income and jobs on Broadway, employing more than 6,000 people over the years, including 450 actors and musicians making up a 27-piece orchestra.
But the pandemic pause of 18 months and a softer tourism industry that followed were part of its problems. It’s also an expensive Broadway musical to perform.
Fans have been singing their favorite songs outside the Majestic Theatre since it opened in 1988, and a lucky few won the lottery to buy $99 tickets on the black tie closing night.
“It’s a very beautiful score, it’s a beautiful show, and I’m very depressed that it’s leaving,” said Ryan Green, one of the lottery ticket winners.
Jamie Samson, who is the assistant wardrobe person in “The Lion King,” wore the “red death” costume from “Phantom.”
“I’m a sucker for spectacle. It hits all the marks. The music is lush and divine. You leave the show humming any sort of medley,” Samson said.
Sarah Brightman played the original Christine, the lead female that the Phantom falls in love with. “I think it’s going to come back because it’s a classic piece. I watch the new generation and people coming up that love theater, and they are obsessed with the show and they’re teenagers,” Brightman said.
There’s a fan-generated rumor that “Phantom” will come back in a scaled-down, less-expensive version. At least one of the stars of the show thinks that’s a great idea.
“I feel excited, overwhelmed, anxious, but mostly just happy that I get to do this with all these people over here,” said Emilie Kouatchou, who plays the role of Christine.