Love Never Dies began performances May 21 in Melbourne at the Regent Theatre. Priscilla Queen of the Desert director Simon Phillips staged the new, darker physical approach to the Phantom of the Opera sequel, which includes revisions to both the script and score.
Love Never Dies was originally on sale through Aug. 7, but producers have now continued the booking through Sept. 25. As previously reported, the original London production of Love Never Dies, which debuted in winter 2010, will close Aug. 27 at the Adelphi Theatre.
Love Never Dies has a score by Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tony nominee Glenn Slater (Sister Act, The Little Mermaid). The book is by Lloyd Webber, Ben Elton and Slater. Phantom lyricist Charles Hart is also credited with additional lyrics for the latest incarnation of the sequel.
The Australian production, which employs a new design team, was nominated for 10 Helpmann Awards (Australia's live performing arts honors), including Best Musical, Best Direction, Best Choreography, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Music Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design.
Ben Lewis, who appeared in the original Australian casts of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Spamalot, stars as the Phantom, opposite Anna O'Byrne as soprano Christine Daaé. O'Byrne previously played the role in an Australian tour of The Phantom of the Opera. Joining them is Sharon Millerchip, who originated the role of young ballerina Meg Giry in the Australian premiere of Phantom, and returns to the role for the sequel, with Simon Gleeson as Raoul and Maria Mercedes as Madame Giry.
Young performers George Cartwright Bush, Trent Heath, Lachlan Kelly, Jack Lyall and Kurtis Papadinis alternate in the role of 10-year-old boy soprano Gustav, with Emma J. Hawkins as Fleck, Paul Tabone as Squelch and Dean Vince as Gangle.
Completing the ensemble are Andrew Broadbent, Renee Burleigh, Colin Dean, Andrew Dunne, Giordano Gangl, Stephanie Grigg, Erin Hasan, Matt Holly, Ben Hudson, Erin James, Adele Johnston, Claire Lyon, Kristy Mackenzie, Matthew McFarlane, Jessica Mechielsen, Meredith O'Reilly, Adam Rennie, Lisa Reynolds, Pharic Scott, Kathryn Sgroi, Ellen Simpson, Tod Strike and Brendan Yeates.
Love Never Dies has choreography by Graeme Murphy, with new set and costume designs by Gabriela Tylesova. The production has lighting by Nick Schlieper (War of the Roses, Priscilla Queen of the Desert), with original London sound designer Mick Potter and orchestrator David Cullen also on board. Guy Simpson (The Phantom of the Opera) serves as musical supervisor.
Set ten years after the conclusion of The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies follows soprano Christine Daae to New York's Coney Island, where she is invited to perform for the mysterious Mr. Y. Characters from her past begin to emerge, including one with whom she shares a dark secret.