Theater News

Theater Gossip: Will West End Phantom of the Opera Be Replaced With Downsized Version?

Andrew Lloyd Webber has not exactly denied the rumor.

Trista Moldovan as Christine and Hugh Panaro as the Phantom on Broadway.
Trista Moldovan as Christine and Hugh Panaro as the Phantom on Broadway.
(© Joan Marcus)

Andrew Lloyd Webber has responded to a theater-industry rumor that the original production of The Phantom of the Opera will be replaced in the West End with a downsized version.

Last week, unconfirmed reports circulated on Twitter saying that the West End show at Her Majesty's Theatre will be replaced by a restaged edition of the long-running production. The reports allege that the new version would reduce the orchestra size from 27 to 14 and revise both director Harold Prince's original staging and Gillian Lynne's original choreography so the production could avoid royalty payments. Other items within the rumor state that the entire company, orchestra, and production staff of the West End version have already been let go.

While the production, presented by Cameron Mackintosh and Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group, has not released any sort of statement, Lloyd Webber took to Twitter and didn't exactly quash the rumor. "I'm doing everything in my power to ensure that when the Phantom returns it is the brilliant original," he tweeted.

Mackintosh does have a history of this. In 2019, he replaced the long-running original West End production of Les Misérables with the smaller 25th-anniversary touring edition. In 1996, a substantial portion of the Broadway company of Les Misérables was let go and replaced in early 1997 with the touring company, before a new cast officially took over.

A petition to save the original production of Phantom has more than 2,000 signatures.