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Broadway gets a new long-run champion: "Phantom" leaps past "Cats"

Broadway has a new long-run champion: "The Phantom of the Opera."

&to=' target=_blank>Andrew Lloyd Webber's lushly romantic musical about a haunted, disfigured composer pining for a beautiful young soprano in the Paris Opera House, was set to surpass "Cats" Monday as the longest-running show in Broadway history.

With performance number 7,486 Monday night, the show was to top Lloyd Webber's feline extravaganza, which closed in September 2000. "Phantom" has lasted nearly 18 years at the Majestic Theatre, where it opened Jan. 26, 1988 _ and the end is nowhere in sight.

Ask Lloyd Webber, whose other megahits include "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Evita," to explain the phenomenal success of "Phantom," and he says with a laugh, "If I really knew, I would do it again.

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