While musicals come and go on Broadway, “Phantom of the Opera” lives on. The award winning hit musical made its debut in 1988, but even at 31 straight years of performances, the show falls short of the record for the longest running musical in the country.

That distinction belongs to a small local San Francisco production that made its stage devut in 1974.

“Beach Blanket Babylon” has turned a six week engagement into a 45 year run. But on New Year’s Eve – January 31 – the show will drop the curtain for the final time.

Saying that she wanted the show to end on a hight note, producer Jo Schuman Silver thinks that now is the right time for the campy show that spoofs popular culture and politics to end.

In the 45 years that the show has run the cast has put on some 17,000 performances and has played to over six million audience members including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, His Royal Highness Prince Charles, David Bowie, and Robin Williams.

Cast members admit that these final performances are going to very emotional and bittersweet as they say goodbye to Snow White, Prince Charming, and the Who’s Who of political leaders and pop culture icons who are a part of the show.

When the curtain finally drops for the last time, “Phantom of the Opera” will officially take over the title of longest running musical.

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