“The tills are alive with the sound of the music of the night!” producer Cameron Mackintosh told The New York Post of the increased revenue as the show’s end looms. Apparently, it raked in $2 million in sales following the announcement. But this renewed popularity will not change the fact that “Phantom of the Opera” will close in February.
The award-winning show will be staging a huge party for its 35th anniversary, then shutting down for good shortly after. There have been 13,000 performances at the Majestic Theatre in New York City since opening on January 26, 1988, making it the longest-running show on Broadway. The producer mentioned how “Chicago” is the second longest and costs less to run.
“Everyone thinks these shows can go on forever, but you can’t run a big show at these margins anymore,” the producer told The Post.
He mentioned that while it used to take $800,000 to put on, now the post-pandemic cost has skyrocketed closer to $950,000. That number is not sustainable.
“The 35-year run is even more miraculous when you consider how huge it is,” Mackintosh continued. “There comes a tipping point in the life of any show. The number of losing weeks was rising even before COVID.”
“The encouraging thing is that there is still a terrific resilience and an insistence to come to shows,” the producer continued. “It’s going to be a bumpy ride, but people are turning up!”
Broadway shows, in general, have struggled to return to pre-pandemic levels, even after theaters dropped the vaccine mandate for guests. Forbes reported in May that gross ticket sales fell 15%, and only three-quarters of all seats were occupied compared to the same week in 2019, with the same number of shows, when shows were 90% full.
Even popular shows like “Hamilton” failed to sell out as usual. Add that to the increased cost of running these shows, which leads to a conclusion where even mainstays like “The Phantom of the Opera” can be put on the chopping block.
Tourism in New York City is also down significantly as rising crime rates and high-profile attacks are making headlines. Broadway enthusiasts may be less likely to head into the city to see a show if they’re worried about safety.