By Adam Hetrick
14 Jul 2011
The dark, lushly-scored musical, which picks up in Coney Island ten years after the Phantom vanishes from his lair beneath the Paris Opéra, faced an uphill battle with critics when it premiered at the Adelphi Theatre in London in winter 2010. Love Never Dies was originally slated to debut on Broadway last November at the Neil Simon Theatre, but has been indefinitely postponed.
The London production briefly shut down last fall to incorporate structural changes to the book and score, and a fresh Australian production, with Priscilla Queen of the Desert director Simon Phillips at the helm of an all-new creative team, premiered in May of this year.
Australian critics were warmer to the newly conceived production, which has extended its booking through Sept. 25 at the Regent Theatre. Lloyd Webber is also said to be pleased with the Australian staging. The original London production was directed by Tony Award winner Jack O'Brien and has choreography by Tony winner Jerry Mitchell. It will end its run Aug. 25.
Representatives for the Melbourne production told Playbill.com July 15 that Lloyd Webber intends to film that incarnation of Love Never Dies for DVD release. The Australian production stars Ben Lewis and Anna O'Byrne as the Phantom and Christine, respectively.
In his interview with the Times, Lloyd Webber indicated that a New York bow seemed less likely. "I think there are a lot of people who would love to see it go there, but I think that we’re all realistic, and I think with the baggage that it's got, it might be better to just let it be discovered," Lloyd Webber told the Times.
The composer also noted that his battle with cancer prevented him from being as involved in the original London production as he would have liked to have been: "The production itself frankly didn't deliver, and I was not on the case, and there was nobody around helping me to produce it who was also on the case. What I can't tell is, I don't know if there's a subliminal resistance to the idea of a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera anyway."
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 original London cast featured Ramin Karimloo as Mr. Y (The Phantom) and Sierra Boggess as Christine. Boggess, who is currently on Broadway in Master Class, told Playbill.com she would "absolutely" be interested in reprising her performance as Christine if Love Never Dies were to arrive on Broadway.