Responding to a newspaper column written by Phantom producer Cameron Mackintosh stating that both the London and UK touring productions are “permanently shut down” due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Webber tweeted early this morning, “As far as I’m concerned Phantom will reopen as soon as is possible.”
Mackintosh has been a harsh critic of the UK government’s slow response to support the devastated theater industry. Like Broadway, the West End has been shut down since March, with no firm reopening date yet determined.
On Monday, Mackintosh wrote in the UK’s Evening Standard, “With no endgame to this crisis in sight, last week I had to follow through with the awful, distressing downsizing of my organisation to ensure my company’s survival…”
“Despite the recent announcement of a £1.57 billion rescue fund for the arts,” the producer continued, “this help still hasn’t materialised. 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.”
As for Phantom, Mackintosh sent a rather mixed message in the column, writing that “Andrew and I have had to sadly permanently shut down our London and UK touring productions of The Phantom of the Opera,” while adding that he and the composer “are determined to bring it back to London in the future.”
In addition to Phantom, which has been running at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London for nearly 34 years, Mackintosh is the producer of such shows as Les Misérables, Mary Poppins, Oliver!, Miss Saigon, Cats and Hamilton.