Actor Laird Mackintosh portrayed as the eponymous character in the musical ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ after its final performance on Broadway, New York City, U.S., April 16, 2023. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

By Alicia Powell

NEW YORK, April 17 (Reuters) – The acclaimed musical ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ ended a 35-year Broadway record on Sunday, bidding farewell to audiences with a final salute that brought together current members of distribution with those of the original function.

British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber dedicated his final Broadway performance to his son Nicholas, who died of gastric cancer last month.

“Over the last few months, I don’t think (…) any of us thought that ‘The Ghost’ would die out with the noise it has. So it could come back, we don’t never know…” Lloyd Webber said from the stage in front of some packed seats after the performance ended.

“I couldn’t have found a better representation.”

Its production, whose closing date was set last year after a sharp drop in box office, is based on a novel by Frenchman Gaston Leroux.

It was originally directed by Harold Prince and Broadway legends like Michael Crawford, who first played the Phantom, Sarah Brightman and Judy Kaye played lead roles.

Set in the 19th century, it tells the story of an aspiring opera singer, Christine Daae, who is taught to hone her vocal skills by the mysterious Phantom. However, things go awry when the Phantom chooses Christine as his muse and she falls in love with benefactor Raoul.

A Broadway classic with nearly 14,000 performances since its premiere in 1988, the show has won more than 70 major awards.

Brightman, who joined the cast on stage on Sunday, described the production as “a very special job”.

“Being there in its infancy, it was written with a lot of love, passion and understanding of the human soul. That’s why I think people are so connected to it,” he told Reuters on the red carpet.

“I think people will miss it so much that (…) it will be played again at some point. That’s what my gut tells me.”

(Reporting by Alicia Powell; editing by John Stonestreet; editing in Spanish by Darío Fernández)

Categorized in: