"The Phantom of the Opera," the longest-running show in Broadway history, is closing after 35 years, TODAY has confirmed.
The legendary show will celebrate its 35th anniversary in January, and then say goodbye to audience in a final performance on Feb. 18 at Broadway’s Majestic Theatre, the show’s spokesperson told TODAY.
Created by three musical theater legends — composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Hal Prince and producer Cameron Mackintosh — "Phantom" premiered on London's West End in October 1986 before opening on Broadway on Jan. 26, 1988.
Though its place on Broadway has felt seemingly permanent for decades, in the end, the show's demise was brought on by the most contemporary of nuisances: a drop-off in audience attendance caused by the COVID pandemic, the New York Times reported on Friday.
Based on the 1910 French novel of the same name by Gaston Leroux, "Phantom" tells the story of a mysterious mask-wearing opera lover who haunts the Paris Opera House and becomes obsessed with a young, beautiful soprano.
After Broadway reopened last September following a long shutdown due to the pandemic, "Phantom," long a tourist favorite, made a strong comeback.
However, ticket sales have since waned, and the show, which features a large cast, a large orchestra and a spectacular set (including a chandelier that crashes on the stage each night), hasn't sold well enough to offset its high weekly running costs, NYT reported.
Though "Phantom" will vanish from Broadway, the musical, which has been performed in 183 cities around the world, is still going strong in other parts of the globe.
The London production, which closed at the height of the pandemic in 2020, has returned with a smaller orchestra and other changes to help keep costs lower.
A new production opened last month in Australia, and the first Mandarin-language production is scheduled to open in China next year.
This is a developing story, please check back later for more details.