Lloyd Webber Reveals New Details On PHANTOM: LOVE NEVER DIES
The Times of London has reported some new details regarding PHANTOM: LOVE NEVER DIES, Andrew Lloyd Webber's upcoming sequel to the mega hit musical The Phantom of the Opera. Most interesting so far is that Lloyd Webber hopes is to have a simultaneous premiere of the musical sequel on three continents, a first in the history of the theatre.
Phantom: Love Never Dies is expected to open at the end of next year in London, on Broadway, and in an at this point unknown Asian city to be named later as production progresses, but Shanghai is a possibility states the Times.
Lloyd Webber told the Times, "I don't think you could do this if it wasn't the sequel to Phantom ... We've been into the feasibility of rehearsing three companies at once and opening very fast in the three territories."
The sequel will be set a decade or so after the first instalment, during which time the Phantom has relocated from the Paris Opera of Gaston Leroux's original novel to Coney Island in Brooklyn, then still a hugely popular beach-side amusement resort for New Yorkers. "It was the place," explained Lloyd Webber to the paper. "Even Freud went because it was so extraordinary ... people who were freaks and oddities were drawn towards it because it was a place where they could be themselves."
The Phantom will be reunited with Christine, the "Swedish soprano", first played by Lloyd Webber's wife at the time, Sarah Brightman. The production has yet to be cast but he said: "We are pretty clear who our Phantom is going to be - I can't say who."
Jack O'Brien, the successful helmer of both The Full Monty and Hairspray, will direct the production. The sets will be designed by Bob Crowley, who has won five Tony awards and whose credits include Sir Cameron Mackintosh's and Disney's Mary Poppins.
Lloyd Webber said: "Bob and I have more or less constructed the first five minutes ... I've written a prologue to the piece in which Bob is going to create Coney Island in front of everyone's eyes."
Produced by Cameron Mackintosh/Really Useful Group, Inc. and directed by theater legend Harold Prince, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is in its phenomenal 21st year in New York, playing at The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street).
On Broadway, since its debut on January 26, 1988, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has grossed over $700 million, making it the highest-grossing show in Broadway history. The production has played over 8,600 performances and total New York attendance is over 12.5 million. PHANTOM became the longest-running show in Broadway history on January 9, 2006 (surpassing Cats) and has now played well over 1,000 performances and more than two and a half years since breaking that record - and all with no end in sight.
Its internationally success - equally staggering - is represented by a total worldwide box office gross of more than $5 billion, making PHANTOM the most successful entertainment venture of all time, surpassing not only any other stage production, but also far surpassing the world's highest-grossing film Titanic (at $1.2 billion) and such other blockbusters as The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park and Star Wars. Worldwide attendance is over 80 million people, having played over 65,000 performances in 25 countries and 124 cities. It's won over 50 Theater awards including 7 Tonys, and there are currently 8 productions around the world. The next international opening will be Perth, Australia in February 2009.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is directed byHarold Prince. Lyrics are by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe) and the book is by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has production design by the late Maria Björnson, lighting by Andrew Bridge, sound design by Mick Potter and original sound design by Martin Levan. Musical staging and choreography is by Gillian Lynne. Orchestrations are by David Cullen andAndrew Lloyd Webber.