After nearly 35 years of delighting audiences on , The Phantom of the Opera is closing. The final performance will take place on February 18, when the masked Phantom and the famed falling chandelier will make their last appearance–at least in .

The show opened in New York in 1988 and has had the longest run in Broadway history. It was also the most profitable for decades until The Lion King roared into town and took that crown.

The Phantom of the Opera has earned $1.30 billion during its impressive Broadway run, according to the Broadway League, and has played an astonishing 13,733 performances with over 19 million tickets sold. Three musical theater legends created it: composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Hal Prince, and producer Cameron Mackintosh.

As soon as Phantom of the Opera hit the stage in the 1980s,fans and critics couldn’t get enough. The usually stuffy New York Times theatercritic Frank Rich wrote:

“Only a terminal prig would let the avalanche of pre-opening publicity poison his enjoyment of this show, which usually wants nothing more than to shower the audience with fantasy and fun, and which often succeeds, at any price.”

But the show has “struggled to recover since it reopened in October 2021 following the pandemic closure, and is losing some $1 million a month,” reports The New York Post. A healthy show grosses around $3 million a week, but Phantom only brought in $800,000.

Twitter has responded with an outpouring of sadness and humor.

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