Numerous iconic Broadway shows set to close in the coming months


People travel far and wide to New York City each year solely because they’ve acquired some coveted tickets to a Broadway show. For centuries, the “Great White Way” has been one of the most popular spots in the city, flooded every day of the week both by tourists from around the world and native New Yorkers looking for something to do. The street, which spans over 13 miles and across the length of Manhattan island, features a stretch of theatres which have been standing tall and operating for over 100 years. There are 41 theatres currently operating on Broadway, each hosting its own unique musical, play, or concert. The shows which land on Broadway stages often run for years, with every seat sold out, before the producers want to move onto bigger things. In the past, very rarely have shows closed due to lack of popularity. A point of concern through the past few years, and in the recent months especially, has been the number of long-running shows closing in quick succession.

One of the most shocking of these cancellations was that of Broadway’s longest-running show, “Phantom of the Opera”. The musical, written in 1986 by notorious composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and premiering on Broadway in 1988, was beaten out only by  “Cats”, another brainchild of Webber’s. When “Cats” closed in 2000, “Phantom” just kept going, making its home in Majestic Theatre. The show has now become the longest running Broadway production, taking the lead by a staggering 17 years. Fans of the show, which has truly cemented itself as a timeless staple, are also celebrating the crew, who are losing their jobs, too; most anyone within the Broadway fan community has seen that Broadway fans young and old have produced an outpouring of support for the theatre’s employees on social media. Many of the show’s producers, actors, lighting designers, and pit orchestra members have been working at the theatre performing “Phantom” every night for years upon years; to many, this show was their livelihood, and to lose it means being let go from a 20-year job. 

Multiple other seemingly popular productions are facing the axe, too. Some emotional stories “Come From Away” and “Dear Evan Hansen” have met their end recently, but “Hadestown” seems to be here to stay. Comedic and fast-paced shows like “Beetlejuice” are leaving, but “Chicago” hasn’t budged. There is no apparent pattern in regards to which shows are staying on and which are being pushed from the spotlight, which has been leaving people asking, “What’s next?”.

There’s no saying that these shows won’t make a grand comeback in the next few years. We’ve seen many examples of popular shows going onto national tours, like “Anastasia”, which debuted in 2017 and ran for two years, before beginning an ongoing international tour; or the aforementioned “Cats”, which is starting a new leg of its national tour, twenty two years after its departure from Broadway. Even “Funny Girl”, which closed way back in 1967, has had a recent revival; meaning 50 or 60 years down the line, we just might see “Phantom” again. While the future of Broadway is currently untold, two things are known for sure; its culture has shifted since the pandemic, for better or worse, and it’s not going anywhere.