Andrew Lloyd Webber dedicated The Last Call of The Phantom of the Opera to his beloved late son Nick – after the thrilling Broadway show ended after 35 years.
The cast and crew, including Weber, took their final bows on stage Sunday, ending New York’s longest-running show with thunderous applause, champagne toasts, and gold and silver rings of fire exploding from its iconic chandeliers.
Show #13981 was at the Majestic Theater and ended with a re-run of “Music of the Night” performed by the show’s current and former cast – including original star Sarah Brightman – and crew members in street clothes.
Andrew Lloyd Webber finally takes to the stage in a black suit and black tie and dedicates the final show to his son Nick, who died last month after a long battle with stomach cancer and pneumonia. He was 43 years old.
“As a little boy, he heard some of this music,” said Lloyd Webber. Brightman agreed, holding his hand: “When Andrew was writing it, he was there. So his son is with us. Nick, we love you so much.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber gave a final bow in the latest Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera, dedicating the show’s last performance to his late son, who passed away last month.
Lloyd Webber posted photos of his latest behind-the-scenes moments on Phantom of the Opera
Producer Cameron Mackintosh has given the crowd some hope that they’ll see the Phantom again, perhaps sooner than they think.
The one question I get asked over and over again – will the Phantom return? Being a producer for over 55 years, I’ve seen all the great musicals come back, and “Phantomo is one of the greatest,” he said. “So it’s only a matter of time.”
The musical—which has performed on Broadway since its January 26, 1988 opening—has withstood recessions, war, terrorism, and cultural shifts.
But the prolonged pandemic may be the last straw: It’s an expensive musical to keep going, with elaborate sets and costumes as well as a large cast and orchestra.
Sunday’s curtain call showed just how apart “Phantom” is from the rest of Broadway, but also just how cool and groovy the musical can be.
“If there’s ever a bang, we go out with a bang.” John Riddell said before rushing inside to play Raul one last time.
Based on a novel by Gaston Leroux, Phantom tells the story of a disfigured composer who haunts the Paris Opera House and falls in love with an innocent young Christine.
Weber’s titular hits include “Masquerade,” “Angel of Music,” and “All I Ask of You.”
Lloyd Webber finally took to the stage in a black suit and black tie and dedicated the final show to his son Nick (pictured right), who died last month after a long battle with stomach cancer and pneumonia. He was 43 years old
Cast of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ appear at the curtain call after its final Broadway show at the Majestic Theater on Sunday
Glenn Close attends the latest Broadway show, “The Phantom of the Opera,” at the Majestic Theatre
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “The Phantom of the Opera” attends its final Broadway show at the Majestic Theater on Sunday
Emily Quacho was cast as a final cast member on Broadway
Raquel Suarez Groen at the close
In addition to Riddle, the New York production said goodbye with Emily Quacho Christine and Laird Mackintosh also enter as Ben Crawford as the Ghost.
Crawford was unable to sing due to a bacterial infection, but was encouraged at the sound of the curtain, and climbed to the side of the stage. The ghost waves to him to stand beside him, Riddle and Quacho.
There was a video presentation of many of the actors who have played major roles in the show over the years, and the orchestra seats were packed with Christines, Raoul, and the Phantoms.
The late director Hal Prince, choreographer Gillian Lynn and set and costume designer Maria Bjornsson were also honored.
Lin-Manuel Miranda attended, as did Glenn Close, who did two Broadway spin-offs of Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard.”
Complimentary champagne was served at intermission and flutes were distributed on stage at curtain call.
The London premiere opened in 1986, and since then the show has been seen by more than 145 million people in 183 cities and has been presented in 17 languages at more than 70,000 performances.
Delighted crowds flocked to the stage on Broadway to bid farewell to the classic
Fans hoping to get a ticket wait outside the carpet before the final performance of The Phantom of the Opera
Longtime co-star Sarah Brightman appeared in the finale to crowd delight
Andrew Lloyd Webber and the cast of “The Phantom of the Opera” appear on the call after the finale
Many fans came out dressed for the final show
On Broadway alone, it has grossed over $1.3 billion.
When Phantom opened in New York, Die Hard hit movie theaters, Adele was born, and floppy disks were at the cutting edge of technology.
The price of a postage was 25 cents, and the most popular songs of the year were Steve Winwood’s “Roll With It”, George Michael’s “Faith” and Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”.
Critics were positive, with the New York Post calling it “a finely crafted piece of musical theatre”, the Daily News calling it “amazing entertainment”, while the New York Times saying it “wants nothing more than to flood the audience with imagination and pleasure.”
Other musicals Lloyd Webber has performed in include “Cats,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Evita,” “Sunset Boulevard,” and “School of Rock.”
The closing of “Phantom” meant that the composer left one Broadway show, the badly ruined “Bad Cinderella”.
Phantom’s closing, originally scheduled for February, was pushed back to mid-April after a flood of interest and renewed ticket sales pushed its weekly gross above $3 million. The conclusion means that the longest-running show’s crown now goes to “Chicago,” which started in 1996. “The Lion King” is next, having started showings in 1997.
Broadway Taking a pounding during a pandemic, with all theaters closed for more than 18 months. Some of the most popular shows — “Hamilton,” “The Lion King,” and “Wicked” — have rebounded well, but others have struggled.
A fan dressed as a Phantom watch makes it to the final show on Sunday
Theatergoers attend “The Phantom of the Opera,” the final Broadway show at the Majestic Theatre
Breaking a tie usually requires a steady stream of tourists, especially for “Phantom,” and visitors to the city haven’t returned to pre-pandemic levels.
The pandemic has also increased expenses for all shows, including routine COVID-19 testing and safety officers on staff.
The Phantom has become the poster boy for a Broadway comeback — after all, he’s partly disguised.
Fans can always pick up Phantom elsewhere. The London-based flagship production celebrated its 36th anniversary in October, and there are productions in Japan, Greece, Australia, Sweden, Italy, South Korea and the Czech Republic. One is about to open in Bucharest, and the other will open in Vienna in 2024.
Quacho, who walked the red carpet before the final show in a clinging hot pink gown with a sweetheart neckline and slit, said bitterness was undermined by the grand sendoff.
Most Broadway shows that close slip into the dark that aren’t celebrated.
“It’s kind of a sweetener, isn’t it?” She said. We’ll celebrate at the end of this. We all get together, drink, laugh and talk about the show and all the highs and lows. It ends on a big note.