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Andrew Lloyd Webber Confirms 'Phantom' Sequel

Andrew Lloyd Webber, the Tony Award-winning composer and impresario, has confirmed that he will indeed be going ahead with a previously announced sequel to his blockbuster hit The Phantom of the Opera.

He said on his most recent video blog, "I will do The Phantom of the Opera sequel, and have met with a couple of people today who persuaded me to do it, who I will not reveal...(it's a) very exciting day for me.  I'm going to Los Angeles tonight and then I'm back for my son's wedding on Saturday, but more of the Phantom sequel's going to be very exciting, and I can reveal it will be set in New York."

Webber previously noted that the sequel would follow ideas developed with Frederick Forsyth, who released a sequel to the show in novel form with The Phantom of Manhattan in 1999.

He also recently gave an update on his planned musical adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov's classic novel The Master and Margarita, noting that he hasn't given up, but is no longer sure that the novel will work as a musical.

Webber, whose many other hits as a composer include Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats and Sunset Boulevard, also writes that a plethora of performers tried out for his new reality search "Any Dream Will Do," which will lead to the casting of the stars of a West End revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  He writes, "Over 800 people have asked to audition for 'Any Dream Will Do' in Cardiff alone and nearly 2000 in London. That's three times as many as for 'How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria' so the next series looks set to be very exciting. I can also reveal that one of the programmes will be filmed at my house in Ireland."  The latter program resulted in the casting of Connie Fisher as Maria in The Sound of Music, the West End revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic that Webber produces.

The Phantom of the Opera features music by Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart, with additional lyrics by Charles Stilgoe.  One of the most successful musicals of all time, Phantom - which is based on the novel by Gaston Leroux - plays in numerous productions around the world and last year, became Broadway's longest-running musical.  It concerns the masked composer of the title, who haunts the Paris Opera House and longs for lovely young soprano Christine Daae.

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Photo of Andrew Lloyd Webber by Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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