Words by: Gabriela Mogavero ’26
Courtesy of : Bruce Glikas of Getty Images
Broadway’s longest-running musical, The Phantom of the Opera, has both thrilled and enchanted audiences for the past 35 years. Yet on Apr. 16, Phantom will be saying its final goodbye to its home at Majestic Theater in New York City. Since the 2020 pandemic, the musical suffered various losses due to a decline in ticket sales. Ironically, after announcing its closing, the show has experienced a staggering resurgence in popularity, dominating Broadway’s box office in the past months.
Based on Gaston Leroux’s 1905 novel of the same name, the musical follows the story of the young soprano singer Christine at the French Opera House. She finds herself at the center of a lethal love triangle between her childhood sweetheart Raoul and the ever-mysterious Phantom of the Opera, wreaking havoc on all those who dare to impede his plans of romance. Debatably described as an unrequited lover, a pitiful victim of societal cruelty, or an unhinged stalker, the title role of the Phantom is unarguably complex.
Composed by the masterful Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Phantom of the Opera first made its debut in London’s West End in 1986, followed by its “phantastical” debut on Broadway in 1988, starring Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman in the leading roles. Since then, Phantom has been a record-breaking box office success, grossing $1 billion in ticket sales from “phans” across the globe, eager to await the intrigue of the Phantom’s Opera. The show has played in over 41 countries in 17 different languages and has taken home seven Tony Awards and four Olivier Awards, with a film in 2004 starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum.
From the lyrical ballads of young love, “Think of Me” and “All I Ask of You,” to the dark and passionate “The Music of the Night” and “The Point of No Return,” Phantom is the perfect blend of operatic rock. Unlike recent musicals desiring realism, Phantom unapologetically embraces the splendor of simple artistic melodrama. With its gothic production design, rich costumes, mystical special effects, and overall romantic atmosphere, The Phantom of the Opera is both a visual and auditory extravaganza. Even for those who haven’t seen the show, the iconic white mask, crashing chandelier and candlelit boat have seeped through the cracks of pop culture.
Despite its farewell at the Majestic Theater, The Phantom of the Opera’s legacy will continue in New York City and across the globe, reminding all of the beautiful power of both storytelling and song.