The Phantom of the Opera - how the musical is leaving the Majestic Theater after 35 years
The Phantom of the Opera is considered one of the most beloved musicals to ever be performed on Broadway. Its opening to the public was in 1986 at the Her Majesty’s theatre in London, the musical is based on the story written by Gaston Leroux, a French novelist. He tells the tale of a disfigured man who lives beneath the opera house in Paris “Palais Garnier”, where he falls in love with Christine Daeé, a young aspiring soprano who he assists in singing. As Christine was originally a chorus dancer, he taught her how to sing, although she never knew who her teacher was. She referred to him as “The angel of music” because when her father died, he told her that he would send the angel of music to her, this gives the Phantom the opening that he needs to advise her to sing. At the time the opera house learns that the strange occurrences are caused by the opera ghost.
Throughout the story, we learn that the man known as the opera ghost is quite controlling over the young soprano, as he is strong-willed to harm whoever might get in his way. For example, when Christine’s childhood lover, Raoul the viscount of Chagney, announces that he is going to sponsor the Opera House, the opera ghost first takes Christine into the catacombs of the opera. There she learns that he is no angel, he is actually just a man with a grand musical talent. As the story progresses, he begins to get even more controlling, harming anything or anyone who might get in his way. The changes in scenery, colour, and soundtrack not only adds more depth in a way, but also demonstrates the severity of the situation and how his music controls the theatre. For instance one of the most memorable scenes is when the opera ghost drops the chandelier to warn the characters that if they do not do what he says, worse things may happen.
On the 25th anniversary of the musical, Andrew Lloyd Webber (he created the musical) and Sarah Brightman (she is the original Christine Daeé) participated in the special performance at the Royal Albert Hall to honour how far the musical has come and how the story and the songs are meaningful to everyone, in a way that performance also impacted the 35th anniversary of the musical as people were even more moved and upset when they found out that the musical would finally leave the Majestic Theater in New York City. Another important fact to remember is that the musical is only leaving the Majestic Theater in New York but not the Her Majesty’s Theater in London, meaning that it's only leaving Broadway.
The musical celebrates its 35th anniversary on Broadway on January 26th, they performed the play and there was a special curtain and signs. In September 2022, it was announced that the musical would finally be leaving the theatre. Fans all over the world began to buy the final tickets for the performance, which led to them deciding to extend the performance for a few more weeks. The musical will stop being performed on April 16th, 2023, although fans believe that eventually, it might come back to Broadway, as over the years, it became extremely popular.
The musical would be closed to the public in February, but as more and more people began to know and more tickets were bought, the crew and directors decided to extend it to April. On the 29th of November 2022, it was announced that the musical’s final performance would be on the 16th of April and that tickets were already being sold, soon enough all the tickets were quickly gone. Because of the last performance, more of the behind the scenes were being posted, and the Instagram account @phantomopera also demonstrated how a few of the special effects and behind the scenes worked. In the last few months of the year and the beginning of 2023, the musical decided to also celebrate dates such as Valentine's Day, Halloween and Christmas to honour the musical one last time.
As curtains are opening and closing one last time, cast members are still not ready to say goodbye to their cherished characters, although they still have hope that the musical may return once again. The crewmembers describe being on the Phantom of the Opera as “putting on your favourite pair of jeans” meaning that no matter how long they stay without performing, they will still know exactly what they have to do and how they have to act. So when the curtains close one last time, they will not be ready to say goodbye.