The Long Chart of Grosses of The Longest Running Musical (Updated 2022)

Sometimes I think we forget what a story we have right under our noses masks.

The longest running Broadway musical of all time, The Phantom Of The Opera, is running right this very second just a few blocks away from where I’m typing this blog.

Many people may not remember, but there was a time when the Masked Man looked like he was going to sail off into the sunset.  But like the subject of another musical by the same Composer, Phantom seems to have nine lives, and it has been reborn again and again over the last . . . 28 (!) years.

As I passed by the Majestic Theatre the other day, I thought it might be interesting to look at those 9 lives/28 years . . . and their respective grosses.  So we graphed the grosses of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway since Day 1 . . . and added in some of the historical events that have happened along the way that could have influenced a rise or fall.

Here’s what she looks like:

Fascinating, right?  What a journey this show has been on!  For the first ten years, it looks like a traditional show’s trajectory . . . opens, grows, peaks and then slowly declines.  And you can see when it looked like it was going to shutter . . . at the bottom of that dip.

And then . . . boom.  All of a sudden it starts climbing and climbing to never before seen heights.

What happened?  Well, it’s pretty clear.  The Movie.  The grosses start to climb right before the movie is released (when the press/trailer/etc started to flood the market), and then they never look back.

Add variable pricing to that new found market penetration and it’s a formula for another decade of higher-than-ever grosses.

If ever there was proof that a movie (or, even a stream) can help a show, well this is it.  Especially since . . . . the movie of Phantom wasn’t even that good!

This is where this blog was supposed to end.

But at the last second, since we have sooooo many years of data, I thought I’d look at another graph of dollars and cents that look very interesting . . . the stock market.

Below is the grosses of Phantom . . . laid over the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the same period.

Here we go . . .


I mean, you see it too, don’t you?  You see the correlation of the chart starting in 1999?  It’s not exact, but the trend is similar.

I wonder if that means we can predict where the stock market is going to be next year based on Phantom’s advance.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.