“It’s over now, the music of the night.”
For 35 years, “The Phantom of the Opera” has served as the Great White Way’s masterpiece, a chilling gothic spectacle that all other Broadway musicals strive to model themselves after. However, despite the show’s record-breaking 3 1/2 decade run, the Majestic Theatre’s resident specter was at last laid to rest Sunday night in an epic curtain call that saw cast and creators weep.
“Happy Phantom Day!” Lin-Manuel Miranda exclaimed as he strode down the red-carpet concealing half of his face with his hand in an attempt to mimic the iconic antagonist of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most famous creation.
The carpet stretched along West 44th Street and hosted past and present Phantom actors, along with a host of special guests. The likes of Glenn Close, Meghan Picerno, Leila Martin, and even Senator Chuck Schumer walked the carpet in celebration of nearly 14,000 performances across the years. From long sweeping gowns to sneakers signed by the cast, attendees went all out to show their love for the New York staple.
It wasn’t only celebrities who arrived to honor closing night, fans from far and wide parked themselves in the golden shadow of the Majestic Theatre to say goodbye to a performance some of them had known their entire lives. Pouring in holding signs, flowers, and even bottles of champagne. Many more sashayed into the gleam of Broadway, donning outfits representing everything from the Phantom himself to a dress depicting the show’s chandelier.
“When I think about leaving, it is kind of emotional. She is not going to be here, and she has always been here,” Lexis Luhrs told amNewYork Metro as she stood decked out in full Phantom garb. “It’s the heartbeat of Manhattan, it’s the Phantom of the Opera.”
Bryan Myskiw looked to say goodbye while holding a poster signed by a variety of cast members from over the years. Myskiw saw the penultimate performance on Thursday and described it as sorrowful.
“I hate to see the show leave,” Myskiw said.
The Curtain Call
The invitation-only audience was treated to one final song after the final curtain had fallen. Webber entered on stage surrounded by the cast to a thunderous roar of applause. The creator looked all the way back over the show’s history to January 1988 when it first opened and thanked the long lineage of actors who have played his characters over the years.
“Thank you to absolutely everybody who made this extraordinary run possible,” Webber said. “It is just amazing what has happened.”
Webber dedicated the final rendition of “The Music of the Night” to his late son. Confetti burst over the audience and even the one-ton chandelier was briefly lowered over spectators to take one final bow. The cast, and even Webber himself, could be observed tearing up at the finale.
Perhaps the most poignant moment of the night came as the crowd was filing out for the venue and a screen publicizing the next showing was left blank, representing a true end of an era.