Theatre has been one of the London industries hit hardest by lockdown. Early closures, postponements and cancelled shows have peppered headlines since April, increasingly so as the realisation sank in that the necessity for socially distanced audiences would be a long-term issue.
Perhaps the biggest casualty yet is a show we never thought we’d wave goodbye to: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running production ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, which has spent 34 years in its West End home at Her Majesty’s Theatre.
The show's producer, Cameron Mackintosh, who broke the news to the Evening Standard yesterday (Tuesday July 28), said: ‘When Covid hit, all my eight theatres were packed with hit shows including some of my own. So as by far the largest independent employer in the West End it is not surprising that as both theatre owner and producer, with no outside investors, I’ve taken a huge financial hit. On top of this, Andrew and I have had to sadly permanently shut down our London and UK touring productions of “The Phantom of the Opera”, but are determined to bring it back to London in the future.’
The news comes as Andrew Lloyd Webber is trialling socially distanced live theatre at the London Palladium. Fingers crossed the trials go well and the familiar masked face of the Phantom returns to the shadows some day soon.
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