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Lloyd Webber Confirms Boggess And Karimloo For Leading Roles In 'LOVE NEVER DIES'

The Daily Mail's Baz Bamigboye is reporting that Andrew Lloyd Webber has confirmed the much rumored news that soprano Sierra Boggess and baritone Ramin Karimloo will star in the world premiere in London of his "Phantom" sequel, Love Never Dies. 

Earlier casting rumors indicated that Andrew Lloyd Webber wanted Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess, who had developed the roles of the Phantom and his protegee in several of the various 'Love Never Dies' workshops, to originate the roles in London. They will perform the roles for the upcoming CD of the sequel. Karimloo is the current Phantom in London, and Boggess was Christine in the 'PHANTOM' production in Las Vegas and was most recently Ariel in Broadway's The Little Mermaid.

The role of The Phantom of the Opera was created by musical theatre superstar Michael Crawford and Christine Daae was shaped and written for her original portrayer, Sarah Brightman.

Lloyd Webber explained to Bamigboye that "It's the first time that the leads on an album of mine have gone on to open in the actual stage show. When Sierra and Ramin open in London, Broadway will want to see the original stars, so you can't say to London: "OK, listen to them for two weeks and then New York gets them." He added, "I personally feel that what will now happen is that Sierra and Ramin will open in London early next year and then go to New York in the autumn of 2010. I think once the album comes out, hopefully before Christmas, a lot of singers will come out of the woodwork and we'll find new Christines and Phantoms for the other productions."

Lloyd Webber also revealed to Bamigboye that the 'Phantom' sequel will open at the Adelphi Theatre 'early next year', adding that 'if it's any later, I'll go crazy!' The Mail's Baz Bamigboye reported a number of weeks ago that THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA sequel was re-evaluating schedules for the debut at the Adelphi in London and the, as of yet, undisclosed theatres where the production will "haunt" in Toronto, New York and the Far East. It has now been learned that only London will open first, with the others to follow at later dates not yet released.

The original plan was for the musical to open in the West End in either late October or early November of this year. Bamiboye's description of the music for 'Love Never Dies' gives one hope for something romantic and thrilling, "From what I've heard, it sounds like the best work Andrew has produced in decades. I confess, I didn't know he still had it in him - it's a score of high passion, full of longing and regret". To read the full article in the UK Daily Mail click here.

The show is set on Coney Island, New York, around 1907 - ten years on from the final actions in Phantom. The original THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is still happily running, at Her Majesty's, London, 23 years after opening. 

A recent Equity audition casting breakdown gives a bit more insight into how the characters of the original musical have changed nearly ten years after the sad and passionate events of "Phantom".

We have the scoop to share with you right here, click to read. 

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 byRichard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd WebberTHE 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 and Andrew Lloyd Webber

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 most recent international opening was Perth, Australia in February 2009.

Photo of Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo by Murray Sanders

Photo of Original London, Broadway and Los Angeles "Phantom" Michael Crawford by RETNA/LTD.

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