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BEHIND THE SCENES | PHANTOM OF THE OPERA'S FINAL BROADWAY PERFORMANCES

Updated: May 7, 2023

April 16th, 2023 was a sad day for The Great White Way (and for me personally), for it was the day that the curtain fell on the New York production of The Phantom Of The Opera for the final time. What made it all the more bittersweet was that the show had recently hit its 35th year anniversary, making it the longest running Broadway show, of all time before it closed.


I recently had the opportunity to go behind the scenes of my favourite musical with The Travel Show and The BBC.


But before I tell you about that, it's worth noting that there is no way to fully express the massive impact that this show has had on my life (but I'm sure going to try).


Like many, Phantom was the show that made me fall in love with musicals. From the moment I first heard the opening notes of the overture, I was obsessed. The soundtrack was on constant repeat throughout all of my teenage years (much to my mother's chagrin).


When I was 15, I secured an interview with Michael Crawford, the original actor to play the role. He was the second person I ever interviewed in my media career. The incident was quite dramatic.


I had secured the interview, but I had to meet Michael at Radio City Music Hall in New York City where he was performing. I didn't have a car, I didn't have money to get there, and I didn't have anyone to help. I explained the situation to my journalism teacher and class.


Then, in what I can only describe as a miracle, my teacher, Ms. Lane, offered to drive me, if I could find a way to cover the costs. As she finished her words, a classmate named John, stood up, pulled out his wallet, and thew $80 down on my desk. I told him I didn't have any money to pay him back, and he replied, "It's okay. If the only thing standing between me and my dream was money, I'd wish someone would help me. Don't worry, it's yours."


I have no idea where John got that kind of money, or why on earth he was carrying it around at school, but to this day, I am so grateful for his and Ms. Lane's incredible selfless generosity. In many ways, they are the reason I got into media and became the person I am today.


Ms. Lane and I went into New York, and saw Michael Crawford perform. It was one of the most powerful and inspirational nights of my life. I eventually interviewed Michael, and at a much later date, even had the opportunity to meet Sarah Brightman, who originated the role of Christine Daaé.


For the rest of my teenage years, I longed to stand on the stage of The Majestic Theatre and play the role of Christine - the beautiful young French ingénue. Sadly, my low alto voice meant it would never be possible. But none the less, I was thrilled to have landed the"Think of Me" solo in my high school show choir's production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's songbook. I thought that this was the closest I'd ever get to being part of The Phantom story, but I was wrong (ohhhh foreshadowing).


My love for Phantom was the reason I went on to study to become a Broadway performer in university and why I obtained multiple Bachelor of the Arts degrees in music, theatre, dance, and business.


It's also the driving force behind my obsession with London and Paris and why I always dreamed of living in Europe. Once I graduated from university, my very first trip out of the United States was to London and Paris. I made a bee line for the London production of Phantom and then headed to The Paris Opera House, where I spent an entire day taking in every aspect of the legendary theatre, from the infamous chandelier, to the The Phantom's Box 5 (which is actually reserved for him in real life). I guess you could even say that Phantom is one of the reasons I moved to London.


Now, here we are, many years later, and I find myself going back to New York with The BBC Travel Show to go behind the scenes at The Phantom Of The Opera's final Broadway performances.


It all started with interviewing the cast in Cameron Macintosh's office. If you don't already know, Cameron is a billionaire musical theatre producer who not only brought us Phantom, but also Cats, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Hamilton, and so much more.


I was in awe of all the Tony Awards and memorabilia in the room. It took everything in me not to touch anything. (Though I may, or may not, have taken a selfie holding the Tony Awards. I can neither confirm or deny this.)


The next day we were off to the costume department. I went to the warehouse where they store all of the costumes that were ever made for the show. The head designer has been there for over 30 years, and she delighted in showing me all the detail that goes into creating these VERY expensive costumes, from the hand-made silk bustles that go under the swing's skirts, to the lavish fur stoles worn by the diva, Carlotta.


I was blown away when she showed me two dresses that were worn by Sarah Brightman for the original production. She had pulled them out of a special cold storage to show us these pieces that, no doubt, will end up in a museum someday. I couldn't believe that I had the opportunity to get up close and touch these historic pieces. It was breathtaking.


But perhaps the highlight of the trip was getting to play dress up and try on the show's costumes myself. As a plus sized girl, there is no way I could actually get into a dress. However, I did enjoy trying on the hats, scarves, etc. The "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" cape was especially fantastic. But the piste de resistance was when I got to try on the Phantom mask and hat. To look in the mirror and see myself transformed into The Phantom himself, I gasped and lost my breath. It gave me chills, then joy, and then a flood of emotions that there are no words to express.


I am not lying when I tell you, this was one of the best days of my life. I didn't think things could get any better, but little did I know that there was more to come.


The next day, we travelled to the theatre to go on-stage and backstage to interview the cast and crew of this production. It was at this time, I was able to stand on the stage, looking out at all those thousands of seats in the theatre. I took a quick selfie (see below) and then had a private moment where I turned my face to the lights and quietly sang "Think of Me" to myself, imagining that I was Christine, finally starring in the role I always dreamed of.


All I could think was, "I did it. I made my biggest dream come true. I am part of my favourite Broadway musical!" The teenage girl inside me was moved to tears as I tried to imprint every detail of this moment into my memory so that I would never forget it.

I spent the rest of the time wandering backstage, meeting the incredible people who bring Gaston Leroux's story to life every night.


Finally, it was time finally sit in the audience and watch the show one last time before saying goodbye forever. I have seen this show around a dozen times over the years, but this one felt different. It was the first time I returned to the theatre post Covid (I used to go nearly every week) and it was the last time I got to sit under the chandelier as it crashed to the stage. I swear all these performers were the best I ever heard in the roles. My eyes were misty the entire way through. (I'm actually still tearing up now writing this.)


As the curtain fell for the final time, I couldn't help but think, "It's over now, The Music Of The Night..."

Kim Davis
Kim Davis





Kim Davis films for The BBC Travel Show outside the Majestic Theatre in New York City,, where The Phantom Of The Opera has played for 35 years.
Kim Davis films for The BBC Travel Show outside the Majestic Theatre in New York City,, where The Phantom Of The Opera has played for 35 years.


Kim Davis wears an authentic Phantom Of The Opera mask and hat behind the scenes at the Majestic Theatre in New York City
Kim Davis wears an authentic Phantom Of The Opera mask and hat behind the scenes at the Majestic Theatre in New York City


The infamous Phantom Of The Opera chandelier is set and waiting for the show to begin
The infamous Phantom Of The Opera chandelier is set and waiting for the show to begin


Kim Davis at The Phantom Of The Opera exhibit at The Museum of Broadway in New York City
Kim Davis at The Phantom Of The Opera exhibit at The Museum of Broadway in New York City


Sarah Brightman's original Phantom Of The Opera costumes
Sarah Brightman's original Phantom Of The Opera costumes


Interviewing Ben Crawford, the final actor to play the lead role in The Phantom Of The Opera on Broadway, inside Cameron Mackintosh's office
Interviewing Ben Crawford, the final actor to play the lead role in The Phantom Of The Opera on Broadway, inside Cameron Mackintosh's office


Kim Davis standing on the stage of The Phantom Of The Opera at The Majestic Theatre in NYC
Kim Davis standing on the stage of The Phantom Of The Opera at The Majestic Theatre in NYC


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