The New York Post reports that approximately 100 guests were invited to witness the first half of Once Upon Another Time at Lloyd Webber's 5,000-acre estate that is located outside London.
The new musical, directed by Jack O'Brien, is set in Coney Island in 1906. The Post describes the musical's first half as such: "The Phantom, having fled Paris, is running a freak show. At night, he crawls into his lair and makes love to an automaton that looks like Christine. Christine, meanwhile, has become a famous opera singer. But she's fallen on hard times because her husband, Raoul, has squandered their fortune. So she's accepted a high-paying gig from a mysterious impresario to open a new amusement park. On her first night in New York, she draws back the curtain in her hotel suite and comes face to face with her new employer — flash of lightning, crash of chords — the Phantom! Christine has a child, Gustave, but is his father Raoul or the Phantom?"
A Lloyd Webber spokesperson told Playbill.com March 26 that American lyricist (and 2008 Tony nominee) Glenn Slater is now working on words to Lloyd Webber's music for the sequel to the smash international hit. With composer Alan Menken, Slater wrote new songs for the Disney Broadway musical, The Little Mermaid, as well as the dawning musicals Leap of Faith and Sister Act.
Lloyd Webber will have book and music credit on the Phantom sequel. O'Brien (Hairspray, The Invention of Love, The Coast of Utopia) directs the project. Bob Crowley (The Coast of Utopia) is the designer.
The Stage reported in May that Phantom: Once Upon Another Time is aiming for a bow in London's West End in November 2009.