Cameron Mackintosh is one of the most successful producers in musical theater history. His list of achievements includes some of the defining hits of the late 20th century. Spectacles such as “Cats,” “Les His Miserables,” and “Miss Saigon,” were produced on a huge budget and extravagantly staged. But looming over them all is The Phantom of the Opera, the longest-running Broadway show of all time.
On Friday, Mackintosh announced that “Phantom,” a stunningly enduring gothic melodrama about a masked musician obsessed with a beautiful soprano, will hit Broadway on February 18, four weeks after celebrating its 35th anniversary. It was announced that the show will end.
Directed by Hal Prince and with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the show was a huge success. On Broadway, it has been watched by 19.8 million people and grossed $1.3 billion. Worldwide, in 41 countries, he has 145 million plays.
But it has been hit hard by declining international tourism — given Broadway’s status as an icon and the fact that local audiences have already seen it for years, “The Phantom” is particularly It was dependent on tourists — and with inflation, this contributed to rising production costs.
“The Phantom of the Opera” final curtain call
The longest-running show in Broadway history will end on February 18, 2023.
The show will continue to run in London, in other productions around the world, and may one day return to Broadway, but the closure of the current production is still the end of an era, and the news came as a shock. Sadness from fans of many ages. (Also, ticket sales flooded in, making him worth nearly $2 million in his first 24 hours.)
In a telephone interview on Saturday, Mackintosh, 75, based in London, explained the decision. “I don’t want to run a great show on the ground,” he said. “This has always been one of my mantras in my long career. There is art in closing a show as well as opening it.”
These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
Please tell us how you came to this decision.
After surviving the first few months (post-reopening), we found ourselves in a situation of regular deficits. As we watched it through the spring and summer, shows of this cost became clear.”Phantom” is more expensive than virtually any other show, especially over the long run. And as a long-running show veteran, the only thing I can do is tell people that it’s not going to be there indefinitely. discovered. I am a long runner.
What is your weekly running cost?
It’s now netting just under $950,000, about $100,000 more than pre-Corona. Costs on both sides of the Atlantic are rising, but box office revenues are not. 10-15% decrease in The truth is that ‘Phantom’ has had many lost weeks pre-Covid, but it has had far more good weeks. The number of weeks has decreased enough that the number of weeks lost outweighs it, and at that point there is only one wise decision to make.
How do you know if what’s happening on Broadway is a temporary downfall or if it’s going to last?
Don’t be ridiculous. How could such a prediction be made in this day and age? But with rising interest rates, international troubles between Russia and Ukraine, and skyrocketing costs of living in ways no one had even thought about for 30 years, we are all facing unknown challenges around the world. Trying to enter the ocean. Or 40 years.
If it hadn’t been for the pandemic, do you think “Phantom” would have been shut down?
I don’t know, but I think it’s not just the pandemic. I think it is wrong to say so. The world has changed. The pandemic was the catalyst, but now suddenly the West is starting to realize that the whole situation where everyone is drifting between Russia and China has changed the whole order, and we can see where it is. I’m in the process of discovering where to go. And the theater is not immune from it.
What is the decisive factor for reopening after closing?
America would not have been able to recover from the pandemic with “Phantom” without a huge amount of money. federal fund, plus very healthy insurance. Thanks to that, we were able to plan and bring the show back to life in the best possible way.
Why is “Phantom” so expensive to run?
Many of the longrunners — “Cats,” “Chicago,” “A Chorus Line,” and the even longer-running “Hamilton” — are all single-set shows with mostly limited costumes. increase. It’s a different world that Andrew and I created the show. Most of my great shows were created in the 80’s and that world is gone.
what do you think about this? It’s not just a business decision.
I am sad and I am celebrating. This is an extraordinary achievement and one of his greatest successes of all time. What’s not to celebrate about it? When I started, a year or two was considered a good run.
What are your thoughts on why “Phantom” lasted so long?
It’s simply a great, beautiful musical. It’s a wonderful, mythical story. When we were rehearsing, we weren’t sure if it would work, but miraculously it all came together and it turned out great.
Are you planning another show on Broadway?
i hope so. I’m not dead yet Whether it will be a new show is another matter. But in New York he’s been doing shows since 1981 when he did “Tomfoolery” at Villagegate. For me it was an extraordinary run.