Thanks to Twitter, I was directed to this site today.
Love Never Dies – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “sequel” to Phantom of the Opera has gone into production, due to open for its word premiere on Tuesday 9 March 2010. Some 18 years after the curtain went up on arguably the world’s most famous and best loved musical. Feel free to argue the point in the comments if you like, but you can’t deny the shows success and vast collection of awards. If you’ve been, you’ll remember where you where when you saw it. For me, it was the first show I saw on Broadway the lady next to me actually grabbed my arm digging her nails in a little as that iconic chandelier fell just above our heads. The hairs on the back of my neck standing on end even though I *know* this thing hurtling downwards *IS* going to move towards the stage….it will it will … aahhh… PHEWWWWW! (GREAT SEATS!! lol)
Though its *not* my favorite, phantom is the bench mark for me when it comes to judging any piece of musical theatre. EVERYTHING about it is so polished – the set and special effects are mind blowing (as is the production budget) fantastic story that gives the characters such depth. The score is just intoxicating. Did I crush on the dark dangerous man in the mask with his red roses? Hell yea, I did who… I still do.
The show is almost an institution as an icon… so the idea of a sequel just makes me so nervous. We all know the second film is rarely as good. In fact, many times its very existence detracts from the original work it was designed to compliment. Sometimes the story is just done, however much we might crave more and feel a sense of loss or disappointment when the curtain comes down.
So why a second show? … And why now? The cynic in me would be of the opinion that we’re just becoming lazy, keen to cash in on prior success, milk it for all the money its worth till it becomes a dried up version of its former self that everyone is sick of hearing about. I’ll bet you the idea of a captive audience of phantom fans who will pay to see the show regardless is tempting as all hell and a dam site easier to get funding for than taking a risk on something unknown. Even though Andrew Lloyd Webber’s past record of hits must make it easier for him to get producers to take a gamble than your Average Joe.
Before you accuse me of Webber Bashing, I’m not really. It seems to be a trend lately though to rehash a previous catalogue of well known successful music to make a whole “new” stage show. Need I mention “Mama Mia”, “We Will Rock You”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Lion King”, “Dirty Dancing”,.. “Legally Blonde”!?? Pleeease. I’m not denying that some of these shows are spectacular and achieving rave reviews but I can’t help feeling that we’re playing it safe to a degree and when I see the next artist that has their musical about to open on stage, I feel nothing but bored.
But what if its not that … lets put the cynic aside for a second. Andrew Lloyd Webber says a follow-on story has been kicking around in his head for years. It’s his show, after all: doesn’t he deserve the right to go back and put the characters to rest in a way that he see’s fit? If anybody is going to touch Phantom, I’m glad it’s him. It’s a brave man that would go back to that story and try to hit it out of the park for a second time.
Ohhhhhh but what if he succeeds? It would be the stuff of legends..
He’s stepped up to the plate and I for one can’t wait to find out what happens next.
We’re going to Coney Island… and I’m rooting for glory.