If The Phantom of the Opera was considered a project of the composer’s love to his muse at the time, then Love Never Dies could be the composer’s desire to return to those glory days knowing full well it could never happen.
For over two decades, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber (he was knighted in 1992 and became a life peer in 1997 with the title of Baron Lloyd-Webber, of Sydmonton in the County of Hampshire and sits in the House of Lords) had mentioned the possibility of creating a sequel for the beloved musical Phantom of the Opera that he created in 1986. He started working on the sequel as early as 1990 but did not start composing until over a decade and half later, but lost the score in an announced cat-astrophe, convenient and suspect to be sure.
Three years later the production, Love Never Dies, opened in the West End in London to mixed/negative reviews. During the previews the production was tooled and retooled and retooled again in hopes to garner positive reviews from critics and/or audiences but closed in 2011 after a mere eighteen month run.
The production team, taking what they learned from the West End, redesigned the musical and opened in Melbourne, Australia in May 2011. This time the musical garnered much more positive reviews, it was at Melbourne that they taped the show for DVD and eventually the production moved to Sydney for a limited engagement.
Over the course of the past couple of years there was much hype leading into the opening production with Katherine Jenkins singing her rendition of the title track:
Ramin Karimloo also created a music video of the Phantom’s opening solo of the production featuring the original Christine of Love Never Dies Sierra Boggess:
The original intent of opening Love Never Dies simultaneously at the West End, New York, Shanghai never really materialized with the production in New York to be delayed indefinitely and the Shanghai development ending in favor of opening an Australian production. However, some of us Phantom Phanatics wanted to see the production: Love Never Dies, and were granted a reprieve when a DVD version of the show was to be aired on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) just a day or two after the DVD officially released in the U.S.
A week or two ago I finally found the time to sit down and watch this DVD… after having heard the soundtrack within months after the initial released I was curious enough to see what the production entailed. Curious to see why it worked in some places and not in others.