Friday, September 16, 2022

Phantom to Close on Broadway


Norm Lewis as the Phantom of the Opera. Photo: Matthew Murphy

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA will conclude its history-making run in February 2023.  The longest-running show in Broadway history, the New York production will first celebrate its unprecedented 35th Anniversary on Jan. 26. It will then play an additional four weeks towards its final performance – its colossal 13,925th – on Saturday, Feb. 18, allowing one of the most romantic musicals in Broadway history to end its run during Valentine’s Week. 

Directed by the late theater legend Harold Prince, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA plays at The Majestic Theatre (245 West 44th Street), the musical’s New York home for its entire run.  As much a part of the city landscape as the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, the blockbuster phenomenon has long been a New York City landmark.  Widely considered one of the most beautiful and spectacular productions in history, the musical set the bar with its lavish sets and costumes, large cast and Broadway’s largest orchestra – a perfect match for its sumptuous score and classic love story.

Producer Cameron Mackintosh said today, “As a British producer who has been lucky enough to have been producing in New York for over 40 consecutive years, it has been an unparalleled honour to have presented the longest-running musical in Broadway’s history, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.  That this legendary show has thrilled New York for nearly 35 phenomenal years is quite astounding to me. 

 As a producer you dream that a show will run forever.  Indeed, my roduction of Andrew’s Cats proudly declared for decades ‘Now and Forever.’  Yet PHANTOM has surpassed that show’s extraordinary Broadway run.  

But all shows do finally close, and after considerable discussion between The Shuberts, The Really Useful Group, Andrew and myself, we concluded that the right time for PHANTOM  was after the show’s 35th birthday on February 18 – a double celebration of PHANTOM’s phenomenal success. 

This production has proved to be the greatest triumph for Broadway’s legendary director and producer, Hal Prince, as well as Britain’s celebrated choreographer Dame Gillian Lynne and the inspired Norwegian designer, Maria Björnson, who are all sadly no longer with us.    It is impossible to thank enough the thousands of talented American artists and musicians who have performed so brilliantly in this production.  The staff at the Shubert’s Majestic Theatre have been extraordinary as have all our creative teams, who have lovingly nurtured the show so magnificently over the years. 

Gaston Leroux’s opera ghost may be disappearing for now, but there is no doubt that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece will continue to enchant audiences in London and around the world – and one day will return to Broadway.  

Our gratitude to American audiences falling in love with The Phantom is infinite.” 

The leaders of The Shubert Organization first fell in love with THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA when they saw an early presentation of the first act in June 1985, at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s annual Sydmonton Festival. Their enthusiasm only intensified when PHANTOM made its triumphant debut in London in 1986. They immediately determined that the future Broadway production must be presented at The Majestic, their 1,655-seat theatre on West 44th Street, home of the original productions of South PacificCarousel and The Music Man “It took some serious trans-Atlantic lobbying by the Shubert top brass – Gerald Schoenfeld, Bernard B. Jacobs and Philip J. Smith – to win the day and ultimately get the show into The Majestic. They happily spent millions of dollars for the theatre to accommodate PHANTOM’s unique set,” stated Shubert Chairman and CEO, Robert E. Wankel. “Of course, PHANTOM became a phenomenal success, breaking all records to become the longest-running show in Broadway history. On behalf of The Shubert Organization, I want to express our gratitude to Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cameron Mackintosh, The Really Useful Group and Hal Prince for lighting up the stage of The Majestic Theatre for 35 glorious years.”

The on-sale date for tickets for the final four weeks of performances – including the 35th Anniversary, Valentine’s Day and the final performance –  as well as details on all celebrations, will be announced at a future date.

 During its New York run, PHANTOM shattered every possible record for advance sales, capitalization, total gross, total attendance and longevity.  It became the longest-running show in Broadway history on January 9, 2006 – when it surpassed the nearly 18-year run of Cats – and has since almost doubled that figure.  The production’s nearly 14,000 performances have been seen by 19.5 million people and grossed a staggering $1.3 billion.  Indeed, PHANTOM has been the largest single generator of income and jobs in Broadway and U.S. theatrical history.  In the New York production alone, an estimated 6,500 people (including 450 actors) have been employed during its more than three decades run. 

The musical also changed the landscape for touring across the country – inspiring the renovation of theaters and opera houses across the country to house it and revitalizing the economies of countless U.S. cities.  The three original U.S. national tours combined grossed over $1.5 billion, playing 216 engagements in 77 cities for an unprecedented total of 36.5 years and over 14,500 performances to 31 million people – making it the most successful and continuously-touring show in US history. 

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists. Her play concept, "From Reel to Real: The Jennifer O'Neill Story" was presented as part of the League of professional Theatre Women's Julia's reading Room Series in New York. Shifting from reviewing to producing, Yarger owns Gracewell Productions, which produced the Table Reading Series at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT. She trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Intensive and other training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run. She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She wrote reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She was a contributing editor for She previously served as theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

She is a Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is a former vice president and voting member of The Drama Desk.

She is a freelance writer and playwright (member Dramatists Guild of America). She is a member if the The Outer Critics Circle (producer of the annual awards ceremony) and a member of The League of Professional Theatre Women, serving as Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter. Yarger was a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2022 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women or people of a certain race are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide, or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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