But, at the curtain call of “The Phantom of the Opera’s” final performance on Sunday, the most well-known light fixture in the world descended one last time to tremendous cheers from the Majestic Theatre audience.
Producer Cameron Mackintosh gave a heartfelt tribute to the cast, crew, and creatives who made the gothic musical a record-breaking hit, saying, “As the Phantom orders, we must celebrate our shining star!”
The final performance of “Phantom,” which depicts the tale of a masked composer who haunts a Paris opera theatre and falls in love with a young vocalist named Christine Daaé, attracted a large crowd of celebrities.
During the interval, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Sara Bareilles were seen taking selfies and drinking champagne, respectively. Shortly before Webber and Sarah Brightman, his former girlfriend and the show’s original Christine, joined Sarah Brightman for an emotional curtain call speech, Gayle King recorded the cast’s last bows on her smartphone.
Nicholas Webber, the elder son of Webber, passed away from stomach cancer late last month at the age of 43. Webber said on stage, “I hope you won’t mind if I dedicate this performance to my kid. He loved some of this music as a little lad when he first heard it.
Sure, Brightman acknowledged. “Andrew was present when he was writing it, thus his spirit is among us. We adore you so much, Nick.”
The performance itself was very emotional as well. When Emilie Kouatchou, the first Black actress to play Christine on Broadway full-time, received a standing ovation mid-show for her stunning performance of “Wishing You Were Suddenly Here Again,” she smiled through tears. The audience cried heartily during the show’s final moments, and legendary pieces like the monkey music box and the Phantom’s boat were hailed with cheers and whoops.
The “grandfather of Broadway” is “The Phantom of the Opera.”
Former and current cast members praised “Phantom” for its incredible legacy on the red carpet prior to the performance. As a part of the “British invasion” of Broadway, the production debuted in New York in 1988, ushering in a new era of megamusicals with lavish stage pieces and thundering pop-rock scores. The Hal Prince-helmed production garnered seven Tony Awards, including best musical, and its memorable tunes have been performed by everyone from Josh Groban to Barbra Streisand.
Raoul, Christine’s suitor, is portrayed by John Riddle, who claims that this show is “like the grandfather of Broadway.” “It establishes the maximum scale that a show can have. An era is coming to an end.”
Laird Mackintosh, who substituted for regular Phantom Ben Crawford while he was ill and on vocal rest, says, “It absolutely did redefine what a Broadway musical can be.” “It still exudes the same theatricality, enchantment, and wow factor that it did in the 1980s. Still, it’s a very powerful piece of theatre.”
As Broadway reopened during COVID-19, ticket sales for “Phantom” fell behind those of several other productions. Yet after Mackintosh and Webber announced it was closing, the musical saw a significant increase in ticket sales, earning a record-breaking $3 million in a single week last month and performing to standing-room only crowds.
After the curtain call, which was accompanied by confetti, Webber remarked, “It’s really wonderful what has happened in the previous several months.” “None of us anticipated that the “Phantom” would end with such a resounding success. You never know, maybe it’ll return.”
The show’s unavoidable return to New York was similarly hinted at by Mackintosh, who said, “It’s only a matter of time.”
Will the Phantom return? is the one question that keeps coming up. On stage, Mackintosh said. “I’ve been a producer for more than 55 years, and I’ve witnessed the resurgence of every great musical. And “Phantom” is among the best.”