The longest-running show on Broadway is one of the biggest victims yet of the post-pandemic slowdown in theater attendance in New York.

New York – “Phantom of the Opera” — Broadway’s longest-running show — is set to close in February 2023, the biggest victim yet of the post-pandemic slowdown in theater attendance in New York.

The musical — a fixture on Broadway since 1988, weathering recession, war and cultural shifts — will make its final Broadway performance on Feb. 18, a spokeswoman told The Associated Press on Friday. The closure will come less than a month after his 35th birthday.

It is an expensive musical to maintain, with elaborate sets and costumes, as well as a large cast and orchestra. Box office earnings have fluctuated since the show’s reopening after the pandemic — peaking at more than $1 million a week but also falling to around $850,000. Last week, it hit $867,997 and producers must have seen the writing on the wall.

Based on a novel by Gaston Leroux, “Phantom” tells the story of a disfigured musician who haunts the Paris Opera House and falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lavish songs include “Masquerade,” “Angel of Music,” “All I Ask of You” and “The Music of the Night.”

The first production opened in London in 1986 and since then the show has been seen by more than 145 million people in 183 cities and over 70,000 performances in 17 languages. On Broadway alone, the musical played more than 13,500 performances to 19 million people at The Majestic Theatre.

The closing of “Phantom” would mean the longest-running show crown would go to “Chicago,” which debuted in 1996. “The Lion King” followed, which debuted in 1997.

Broadway took off during the pandemic, with all theaters closed for more than 18 months. Breaking even usually requires a steady stream of tourists, especially for “phantoms.”

The closure was first reported by the New York Post on Friday.

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