Playbill.com picked up on Variety and New York Post columnist Liz Smith's March 25 item that "Andrew has already written the music for the sequel and waits impatiently for Tim Rice to do the lyrics," but Rice, in fact, is not the lyricist of record.
A Lloyd Webber spokesperson told Playbill.com March 26 that American lyricist Glenn Slater is now working on words to Lloyd Webber's music for the sequel to the smash international hit.
Lloyd Webber will have book and music credit on the Phantom sequel, in which the title character travels to Coney Island around 1900 and is reunited with soprano Christine. The show is not based on source material.
There were discussions with Rice (Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) in the very early stages of the Phantom sequel's development, a spokesperson confirmed. No production timeline has been announced for the sequel, but 2009 has been reported in the past as a target date for the show.
One of the reported titles of the new project was Phantom in Manhattan. Frederick Forsyth, who wrote a novel called "The Phantom of Manhattan," was reportedly working with Lloyd Webber on the sequel in its early stages, but that is no longer the case.
Lyricist Slater wrote the lyrics for Disney's animated "Home on the Range" with composer Alan Menken. He also penned Manhattan Theatre Club's Obie Award-winning revue newyorkers (Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, OCC nominations). His songs have been recorded by Bonnie Raitt, kd lang and Tim McGraw, among others, and his words have been heard at the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus for the past decade.
With composer Stephen Weiner, his collaborator on newyorkers, he is penning both book and lyrics for the Broadway-bound adaptation of the Coen Brothers' film "The Hudsucker Proxy." He's the recipient of the Kleban Award for Lyrics, the ASCAP/Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award and the Jonathan Larson Award. He is an alumnus of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop and a member of both ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild.
The Daily Mail previously described the sequel plot this way: "The Phantom has slipped away to New York and has set up a fairground world on Coney Island, along with Madame Giry and her daughter, Meg. He organizes a concert in Manhattan for Christine, the object of his desire. Christine travels to the U.S. with her husband Raoul and their teenage son, who happens to be a musical genius...just like the Phantom."
The winner of seven 1988 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, The Phantom of the Opera (which originated in London) became the longest-running show in Broadway history on Jan. 9, 2006. It surpassed Lloyd Webber's Cats, which was a record-holder for its run of 7,485 performances. Phantom celebrated 20 years on Broadway in January 2008.
Lloyd Webber turned 60 March 22 (which is also composer Stephen Sondheim's birthday).
The Harold Prince-directed production of The Phantom of the Opera continues at the Majestic Theatre.
In addition to the above-named shows, Lloyd Webber's theatre work also includes Aspects of Love, The Beautiful Game, Whistle Down the Wind, By Jeeves, Starlight Express, The Woman in White, Tell Me on a Sunday, Song & Dance and more.