Perhaps we won’t have to say farewell to “The Phantom of the Opera” for long.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer behind Broadway’s longest running show, told MarketWatch that he expects the musical will return at some point after it ends its 35-year run on April 16.
“The Phantom sends me notes from time to time, saying he’s quite in love with New York and he might not want to be away from Broadway,” Lloyd Webber said coyly in an interview on Tuesday.
The composer wouldn’t provide any specific date that “Phantom” might return, though he said, “I think it might be a good idea to maybe just rest for a little bit.”
Certainly, most popular Broadway shows — and there are few as popular as “Phantom” — are revived at some point. “Les Misérables,” for example, has come back twice since its 2003 closing.
But typically, revivals are not produced until at least a few years, if not at least a full decade, after the closing of the original production in order to let demand for a return build. Industry insiders say it’s possible that “Phantom” might not need to wait that long.
Mike Rafael, a veteran theater ticket-sales professional, said that “Phantom” came back solidly after a pandemic shutdown — the show was closed for 19 months — and thinks producers could follow that playbook again.
“I think they learned from that,” Rafael said.
Since “Phantom” announced in September that it would be ending its record-breaking run, the show has seen its post-pandemic weekly grosses, which had been around $1 million, skyrocket to dizzying levels. For the week ending March 12, “Phantom” ran at full capacity and grossed $2.7 million, putting it far ahead of such perennially popular shows as “Hamilton” ($1.9 million), “The Lion King” ($1.6 million) and “Wicked” ($1.7 million).
All of which begs the question: Why close it now?
Lloyd Webber, whose Really Useful Theatre Company is listed as a main producer for the show, didn’t speak to the reasons behind the decision. He did say, however, that the show’s surging sales success goes beyond the fact it’s scheduled to close soon.
Lloyd Webber said “Phantom” has tapped into a youthful fan base of late, noting that it’s even found a following on TikTok.
“A load of young people have come to it through social media. They are a missing generation of ‘Phantom,’” Lloyd Webber told MarketWatch. He added that the show’s productions across the globe are selling strongly.
Cameron Mackintosh, another main producer of “Phantom” on Broadway, couldn’t be reached for comment.
“Phantom” did extend its Broadway run once already — it was originally scheduled to close in February. And while another extension could have been possible, Rafael said he thinks that those behind the show are conscious of going out on top rather than seeing sales slow over time.
“They’re not trying to land a plane on fumes,” Rafael said.