London's Daily Mail reports that O'Brien will direct the sequel to Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. According to previous reports, the sequel is titled Phantom in Manhattan and is based on Frederick Forsyth's novel "The Phantom of Manhattan."
The London paper says much of the music for the sequel has been written, although the book and the lyrics are proving more difficult. Ben Elton, who collaborated with Lloyd Webber on The Beautiful Game, had worked on the show, but the results were less than satisfying. Now, novelist Forsyth is back working on the book.
The creative team will also include Tony-winning designer Bob Crowley, who worked with O'Brien on Coast of Utopia. The show will most likely be mounted in 2009.
In Phantom in Manhattan, the Daily Mail says, "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."
Jack O'Brien won Tony Awards for his direction of The Coast of Utopia, Hairspray and Henry IV. He was also Tony-nominated for his work on Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Invention of Love, The Full Monty, Two Shakespearean Actors and Porgy and Bess. O'Brien, who has served as artistic director of San Diego's Old Globe for the last 26 years, will pass the torch to Jerry Patch and Darko Tresnjak in 2008. Bob Crowley has designed sets and/or costumes for the Broadway productions of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Carousel, Racing Demon, The Capeman, The Judas Kiss, Twelfth Night, The Iceman Cometh, Amy's View, Putting It Together, Aida, The Invention of Love, Sweet Smell of Success, The History Boys, Mary Poppins, The Coast of Utopia, The Year of Magical Thinking, A Moon for the Misbegotten and Tarzan; he also made his Broadway directorial debut with the latter. Crowley is the recipient of five Tony Awards.
The winner of seven 1988 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, The Phantom of the Opera became the longest-running show in Broadway history on Jan. 9, 2006. It surpassed Cats' record-holding run of 7,485 performances.