A Fond Farewell to “The Phantom of the Opera” – Massachusetts Daily Collegian
An examination of the legacy of Broadway’s longest-running show
October 19, 2022
“The Music of the Night” has finally hit its final note. On February 18, 2023, Broadway’s longest-running show will retire, marking the end of its extraordinary 35-year legacy. “The Phantom of the Opera” takes a loving piece of Broadway heart with it.
While shows often come and go in the world of musical theater, “Phantom” felt unchanging from its place at the Majestic Theater. For some, the sweeping lights, iconic, luscious tunes and tantalizing performances meant the theater itself – a representation of music, acting and technical acclaim that encompassed the soul of live entertainment. For others, “The Phantom of the Opera” was among the first soundtracks to fall on impressionable young ears. His music nurtured the love of theater for a whole generation of budding artists, going so far as to spread his magic around the world. For many, its closure is more than just a curtain call. It’s a bittersweet farewell to everything the Phantom represented in the lives of performers and dreamers.
Like many other businesses, Broadway has taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the world has entered limbo, with most businesses and services reopening, reopening meant figuring out which shows were making the cut and which… weren’t. Broadway favorites like “Wicked” and “The Lion King” did pretty well, but it’s (almost) expensive to drop a huge, glowing chandelier every night on the audience. “The Phantom” has its own bills to pay!
“The Phantom” and Christine Daaé are not gone forever. There are still several productions of this beloved musical elsewhere in the world, but for now, their chillingly beautiful blend of powerful, rich baritone and exquisite soprano will soon sound its last.
You may remember the 2004 film production of “The Phantom of the Opera,” starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum. It’s another take on the musical that will live on for as long as movie viewing does, though some dissenters argue over the show’s interpretation, attacking everything from its execution of the material to its choices. casting and tuning. Any art medium will have those who criticize it. The film deserves greater accolades for its dedication to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s mastery of a musical, which now also lives on forever through such productions.
As much as life is partly about knowing how and when to start, it’s also about knowing how and when to stop. The Phantom could have continued its run on Broadway, rocking that chandelier on its legendary music for years to come. But with that, you run the risk of becoming stagnant – an artist’s worst nightmare. How long is too long? How many years does it take to really prove that you know your stuff, that you’re worthy to be here, that you’re one of the best? “The Phantom” has definitely proven itself not just on Broadway, but all over the world, among those whose hearts will always skip a beat as soon as its iconic notes strike. The thing is, like everything, “The Phantom of the Opera” was coming to an end, and there’s grace in knowing that.
There is little concern for the future of the theater now that it is on the verge of losing an integral part of its core. The departure of “The Phantom” is something to mourn, but it’s also something that paves such a glorious path to possibility. Nothing could ever replace the “music of the night”, but there is always another show, play or performance coming up in the arts. That’s the nature of this genre; there is growth, expansion and passion stuffed, slipped and sealed into every available nook, cranny and crevice. There’s bound to be a musical born out of the same brilliant stuff that was the “Phantom.”
Monita Seng can be contacted at [email protected]you.