While London awaits a revised and revitalized Whistle Down The Wind, theatregoers on both sides of the Atlantic are even more intrigued by Andrew Lloyd Webber's concurrent project: a sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera.
London Telegraph arts writer Charles Spencer reported (July 19) that Webber played him a tape of one ballad, "The Heart Is Slow To Learn," sung by Kiri Te Kanawa at the Sydmonton arts festival. Reported Spencer, "Lloyd Webber has already written about five numbers...but admits there is one difficulty: he's not quite sure what the story will be yet." According to Spencer, Webber's collaborating with a well-known playwright/librettist on the work, which may turn out to be set in New York City at the turn of the century, with Christine and the Phantom ten years older than in the original Phantom.
(Webber's spokesperson, Peter Brown, was on holiday through July 29 and could not immediately be reached for confirmation of the London Telegraph story.)
Phantom phanatics will also want to keep in mind that Jan. 26, 1998 will mark the show's 10th anniversary on Broadway. A production spokesperson told Playbill On-Line a special event was in the works, but no details have yet been released. The production reached its 10th anniversary in London Oct. 9, 1996.
Meanwhile, websites have been abuzz -- and aflame -- with the rumor that Warner Brothers has asked John Travolta to star in its upcoming film of The Phantom Of The Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber's megamusical still on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre. Several sites have sprung up vociferously objecting to the potential casting, since Michael Crawford originated the role. The "No Film Of Phantom" campaign is targeting Warner Brothers and the Really Useful Company with a letter writing and e-mail onslaught in the hopes of changing the studio's mind about their casting choice for the deformed maestro.
But checks by Playbill On-Line show the protests maybe premature. A spokesperson at Warner Brothers told Playbill On-Line the project was too early in development to be commented upon. The Rogers & Cowen office, speaking for Travolta, would not confirm the rumor. Another source close to the actor said the answer would come in a few weeks, but it was looking "more and more unlikely" the deal would go through. Webber spokesperson Peter Brown wouldn't comment on Travolta or Crawford but told Playbill On-Line (June 19) "Warner Brothers is still searching for a director and leading man, as soon as we have those, we'll be a go, very quickly."
According to one website, the Travolta rumor started when the actor, on a May 19 UK television interview from the Cannes Film Festival, revealed that he was seriously considering the part and was scheduled to meet with composer Webber. When the commentator -- who said Crawford had been passed over for the role -- asked Travolta if he could handle such an operatic role, Travolta replied that Erik the Phantom would be "easier to sing" than the light pop songs in Grease because you could "give your whole heart and soul and annunciation and pronouciation to the words" of operatic songs."
Here are some Phantom oriented websites for those interested in pursuing the issue further: