Originally scheduled for a November 2010 Broadway bow, the musical will now open at the Neil Simon Theatre in spring 2011.
An April 6 statement from the show's producers says that the original date was set prior to Lloyd Webber's diagnosis with prostate cancer last fall. "Although the cancer has been eradicated, there have been post-operative problems," according to the statement. "These have been aggravated by recent air travel and Lloyd Webber's doctors have requested that he does not take any further long-haul flights for the time being and until the problem has been investigated. This prevents him attending auditions and being part of the pre-production process in New York on the original schedule."
Lloyd Webber also appears weekly on the BBC casting series "Over the Rainbow," which seeks to cast the lead in a new London production of The Wizard of Oz. That commitment along with his doctors' advice "has made it impossible to keep to the original Broadway schedule for Love Never Dies," the statement continues. "Therefore, the decision has been made to move The Wizard of Oz forward in London and to schedule the Broadway premiere of Love Never Dies for 2011 thus allowing Andrew the freedom to travel to New York and oversee the audition and rehearsal process later in the year."
Lloyd Webber said in a statement, "I am extremely frustrated that I cannot travel to New York for the time being. I will be focusing my time on producing The Wizard of Oz in London now, and plan to be available for the creative process of bringing Love Never Dies to Broadway as soon as possible. I’m grateful that Jack and Jerry’s schedules can allow me to do this juggling act." The score for Love Never Dies is written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the lyrics are by Glenn Slater, and the book is jointly the work of Lloyd Webber, Ben Elton and Slater, with director O'Brien also making contributions.
According to the official website for the musical, "Love Never Dies continues the story of The Phantom, who has moved from his lair in the Paris Opera House to haunt the fairgrounds of Coney Island, far across the Atlantic. Set 10 years after the mysterious disappearance of 'The Phantom' from Paris, this show is a rollercoaster ride of obsession and intrigue...in which music and memory can play cruel tricks...and 'The Phantom' sets out to prove that, indeed, 'Love Never Dies.'"
Ramin Karimloo, who recently played the title role of The Phantom for a two-year stint in the West End, reprises the same role for the current London production, and Sierra Boggess plays Christine, a role she previously played in the premiere of Phantom – the Las Vegas Spectacular in 2007.
The musical opened to mixed reviews in London. Changes are expected for the Broadway mounting.
For more information visit www.loveneverdies.com.