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'Phantom of the Opera' extends Broadway run by 8 weeks

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Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer of both Phantom and Cats, takes part in curtain call ceremonies at New York's Majestic theatre to mark that Phantom of the Opera has surpassed Cats to become the longest running musical show in Broadway history with it's 7, 486th performance in 2006. File Photo By Ezio Petersen/UPI
Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer of both Phantom and Cats, takes part in curtain call ceremonies at New York's Majestic theatre to mark that Phantom of the Opera has surpassed Cats to become the longest running musical show in Broadway history with it's 7, 486th performance in 2006. File Photo By Ezio Petersen/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 29 (UPI) -- The Phantom of the Opera will not be exiting the stage as soon as was once planned due to high demand.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic was scheduled to make its curtain call on Feb. 18 but the show is being extended until April 16, according to producer Cameron Mackintosh.

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The box office for Phantom feverishly picked up after it was announced in September that it would be closing in the coming February. Weekly ticket sales nearly doubled after the announcement, leaping from about $900,000 per week to about $1.8 million. Thanksgiving week alone earned the show about $2.2 million at the gate, according to The New York Times.

The Phantom of the Opera is playing at the famed Majestic Theater in Midtown Manhattan.

"The response to the news that The Phantom of the Opera is finally going to end its record-breaking original Broadway run after 35 years has been as phenomenal as the show itself," Mackintosh said in a statement.

"We are all thrilled that not only the show's wonderful fans have been snapping up the remaining tickets, but also that a new, younger audience is equally eager to see this legendary production before it disappears."

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Mackintosh told The New York Times that the musical was beginning to be taken for granted and losing money last year as people expected it to run forever. By announcing an end date, interest was reinvigorated.

Tickets will go on sale Wednesday for the final 10 weeks for shows.

Webber, the composer and playwright behind the musical, said he is "delighted" that the show is being extended at the Majestic.

"If only the theatre wasn't closing for a major refurbishment, we'd be there for an awful lot longer. I would love to thank everyone who has made this extension possible," he said.

On Oct. 29, Carol Burnett began a campaign to rename the Majestic Theater in honor of Harold "Hal" Prince, who directed The Phantom of the Opera beginning in 1988. She started the hashtag #themajesticisfitforaprince on her Instagram page.

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