Stage Door News

New York: Canadian Laird Mackintosh will be the final Phantom of the Opera on Broadway

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Laird Mackintosh will step into the titular role for Phantom of the Opera's final Broadway performance the evening of April 16. Principal Phantom Ben Crawford, who has not appeared onstage at several recent performances, has been sidelined due to a bacterial infection and being on vocal rest per doctor's orders.

A longtime Phantom veteran and fan-favorite, Mackintosh's history with the musical began with playing Raoul and understudying the Phantom in the Canadian production from 1993 to 1998. He went on to serve as the principal André in the Broadway production while also understudying the Phantom beginning in 2013, before departing the production in 2019 to play Henry Higgins in the national tour of My Fair Lady. Mackintosh also had a principal run as the Phantom December 2017 through January 2018. He has played the role over 200 times.

According to a production representative: “As a full recovery is expected in the coming days, Ben and The Phantom Company had hoped he’d be able to return for the closing performance. To our regret, he’s required to take a little more time."

Mackintosh rejoined the company temporarily in October 2022 to once again cover for the Phantom, as well as in February and March 2023. He was called in to perform in the charity performance April 14 and also stepped up for the final public performance April 15.

Mackintosh, born in Calgary, now based in New York City, made his Broadway debut in 2011 in the role of George Banks in Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theater in New York City.

Mackintosh began his career as a dancer in the National Ballet of Canada (1990-1992). He studied at L'Ecole Superieure de Danse du Quebec (Montreal), American Ballet Theatre's School of Classical Ballet in New York City and The National Ballet School in Toronto.

In 1993 he joined the Toronto (LivEnt) production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera in the role of Porter/Marksman and subsequently went on to play the leading role of Raoul for three years and also to understudy the role of the Phantom.

He performed with Toronto's Opera Atelier between 1997 and 2002. In 2002, Mackintosh joined the company of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival appearing as Freddy Eynesford-Hill in My Fair Lady. He remained with the company for eight seasons, playing many leading roles.

On August 26, 2013, Mackintosh joined the Broadway cast of The Phantom of the Opera as Monsieur André and an understudy for The Phantom. On May 5, 2014, he performed a one-week limited engagement as the Phantom between Hugh Panaro's departure and Norm Lewis' arrival. He concluded his limited run as the Phantom on May 12, and then continued to play Monsieur André until September 2019. He returned as the Phantom on March 6, 2023, for a charity performance on April 14, 2023, and for the final two performances on April 15 and 16, 2023.

After a history-making 35 years, the famed chandelier descends for the last time as the Tony-winning musical plays its 13,981th performance at the Majestic Theatre. The international hit musical, which resumed performances October 22, 2021, following the pandemic, previously celebrated its 35th anniversary January 26.

In September 2022 it was announced that Phantom would play its final performance at the Majestic February 18. It was subsequently revealed that the musical would play an additional two months. This postponed closing date followed an uptick in ticket sales since the news was announced; in fact, the London import has topped the box-office grosses for several weeks. Its penultimate week took in a staggering in $3,648,872.13. (It should be noted that the extension was the longest possible for the Broadway production, as the Majestic will subsequently close for renovations.

Photo: Laird Mackintosh as the Phantom. © 2023.