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The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Final Curtain Falls on ‘The Phantom of the Opera’

“The Phantom of the Opera” poster at the entrance of the Broadway theater in New York, NY. The amount of people waiting in line to enter this theater has been growing as a reaction to the announcement of the musical’s closing. (Selena Said/International Dateline)

Broadway’s longest-running show, “The Phantom of the Opera,” is set to have its final showing on April 16. This closing date was extended from Feb. 18 due to a jump in ticket sales during Thanksgiving week, which holds the record of the musical’s highest-grossing week in its history.

“The response to the news that ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is finally going to end its record-breaking original Broadway run after 35 years has been as phenomenal as the show itself,” producer Cameron Mackintosh said in a Nov. 29 statement announcing the show’s eight-week extension.

The musical revolves around the Phantom, a murderous masked musician, who lives under Paris Opéra House and develops an obsession with a stunning soprano named Christine Daaé. Since its Broadway debut in 1988, this phenomenon of a show has been seen by more than 145 million people across 41 nations and has been performed in 17 languages.

However, Mackintosh decided to shut down the show since it wasn’t attracting enough of an audience to cover its running cost. This financial strain was exacerbated by the negative impacts of inflation and the pandemic.

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Some members of the WIS community are big fans of the show and were saddened to hear that it is closing.

Middle and Upper School math teacher Andrew Sopher has seen “Phantom” between 20 and 25 times, both virtually and in person. “The music is phenomenal it’s my favorite musical score by far,” Sopher said.

Middle and Upper School instrumental music teacher Josh Frayer was introduced to the soundtrack in high school, yet he has never seen the show live. On the other hand, he has watched the 25th anniversary edition and conducted the show at WIS in 2015.

“It touches on some really disturbing things with mental illness,” Frayer said. “I like the whole back and forth between the evil and the good, and sometimes you can’t decide if you’re on the evil side, or if you’re with the good side.”

Similarly, Sopher enjoys that the show doesn’t fit in with the cheerful and sing-along standard of other musicals. “There’s a lot of things that are hidden,” Sopher
said. “If you’re just watching it for the first time, it takes some time to really understand what’s going on, in my opinion, and the depth of the characters that develop over the course of the show is really impressive.”

Frayer has seen various iterations of the musical, but his favorite parts are always the organ in the opening number and the famous chandelier drop at the end of Act I. “[It’s] supposed to frighten the audience and, depending on the stage, there’s fireworks and real fires sometimes,” Frayer said.

Sopher enjoys the masquerade scene and the last 17 minutes of the show, during which the Phantom, Christine and Viscount Raoul de Chagny, who is a childhood friend and love interest of Christine, all sing together.

“[It’s] really impressive that they’re harmonizing with different rhythms and different lines,” Sopher said.

Frayer was saddened to hear about the show’s closing, particularly because he had never seen it on Broadway. However, Sopher had mixed feelings. Though he believes that experiencing the show in person is much more thrilling, the 25th anniversary live performance, the soundtrack and several film adaptations are accessible to anyone through the internet.

Additionally, Sopher believes that younger generations are more reliant on short-term entertainment, which has made the show less popular. “People like technology better, they don’t leave the house as much and when they do, they’re staring at their phones,” Sopher said. “Sitting down in an opera house to watch a performance is just less common nowadays.”

By Selena Said

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Selena Said
Selena Said, WIS News Editor
Hi, I’m Selena! I am currently a sophomore and this year, I am a WIS News Editor. This is now my second year being a part of Dateline and I was previously an Arts Editor. I like to cover news and fun stories that have a connection to the WIS community. Outside of Dateline, I like playing tennis and reading. 

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