After nearly 14,000 performances and 35 years, the final curtain call for Broadway’s most enduring musical, Phantom of the Opera, will take place on Sunday. The show’s legions of fans, or “phans,” can hardly believe the news. It always felt like a stable presence on West 44th Street. But even a cultural behemoth like Phantom of the Opera became an expensive venture. Its weekly running costs approached $1 million and the gross revenue was not enough to offset those costs.
For some fans, the musical became a constant in their lives. They have followed the show around the world and caught new interpretations of the phantom and Christine at the Majestic Theater. The show became a place to go when they felt like they needed it. The magic of the show created an awe-inspiring environment that became home to several fans, a place where they found solace and formed lasting bonds with fellow theatergoers throughout the musical’s run. Some phans have seen the musical dozens, even hundreds, of times.
The show introduced new audiences all over the world to Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera. In addition, adaptations and parodies specific to the show’s interpretation of “Phantom” can be seen throughout pop culture.
Though the musical introduced its audience to breath-taking sets, elaborate costumes, melodramatic love triangles, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score, its closing is leaving behind a hole in the hearts of many phans, including Sierra Boggess, the most beloved portrayer of heroine Christine among phans. She has played Christine across the pond and in the sequel-musical, “Love Never Dies.” Her memories of performing in the musical, from rehearsing for the Las Vegas production with the show’s late director to hitting the highest note Christine sings in the show, are some of the dearest memories of her career.
Phans will bid their farewells to “Phantom” on Sunday night, but the theatrical landscape will continue to have touring productions of the show. Additionally, Phantom of the Opera licensing rights will be available for amateur theater companies. However, as soon as the Majestic marquee goes dark on Sunday night, the Broadway strip will feel a little less magical without the show that redefined Broadway.