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RIALTO CHATTER: Will the PHANTOM 'Sing Once Again' with...Sierra?

Sierra Boggess is currently singing 'Music In The Air' as part of the cast of the new Encores! production, will she soon be singing 'The Music of the Night' in the upcoming sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, 'Love Never Dies'?

If The Daily Mail's Baz Bamigboye has his facts correct, then she will indeed be portraying the Phantom's true love, Christine Daae, a role she played in the Las Vegas presentation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber mega hit musical. In truth 'RIALTO' sources have long confirmed her having a lock on the role.

Bamigboye reports that Andrew Lloyd Webber and the team behind Phantom: Love Never Dies, are meeting in New York this very weekend to figure out how they're going to stage it in the West End and on Broadway simultaneously and, fingers and half mask crossed, in Shanghai just a short few months later.

This bold move will mean casting the show three times. As reported in The Daily Mail, Ramin Karimloo, born in Iran and raised in Toronto, and actress Sierra Boggess have been cast. But, as yet, no one's certain whether they will open in New York or London first. 

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.

Karimloo is currently playing the Phantom in the London production, while Boggess, who created the part of Ariel in The Little Mermaid on Broadway, performed as Christine Daae a couple of years ago in the Las Vegas abridged version of Phantom explains Bamigboye. 

The pair have also essayed the Phantom and Christine during the workshop rehearsals in London, Aaron Lazar played the role of Raoul in the last reading, so in effect have created the creative guideline for how the roles of the leads will be played on three continents.

Sources have thrown another name in the Christine casting mix, Elena Shaddow (Light in the Piazza, London's Showboat). Ms. Shaddow played Christine in the last workshop with Karimloo and Lazar. She's reportedly on the short list for Christine as well (Word is she could perform it in London).

Director Jack O'Brien and designer Bob Crowley, are shaping a production schedule that would have a long period of previews for Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre in the fall and at the chosen theatre the producers settle on in New York (a deal is imminent, Bamigboye informs). To read the entire Daily Mail story click here. You'll also read the news that a few of the musical's songs may be debuted on American Idol later this season.

Lloyd Webber only recently confirmed his very active plans for Phantom: Love Never Dies, the sequel to his worldwide mega hit musical The Phantom of the Opera.

In an earlier interview with The London Times Lloyd Webber revealed the hope to open 'Phantom: Love Never Dies' simultaneously in three different locations across the globe.

He 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 one which really interests me [in the Far East] would be China ... I think to open Love Never Dies in Shanghai would be an enormous thing."

He gave even more information regarding the above statement by confirming the news on his personal site, "I am delighted to confirm that following a successful sing-through of the complete score of "Love Never Dies" (the sequel to "The Phantom of the Opera") in the lead-up to Christmas, I have decided to greenlight the production. Of course you never can tell how things will turn out, but we are exploring the idea of opening the show in the UK, America and the Far East in the autumn of 2009. This is a very exciting idea but obviously we have to see that it is logistically possible".

He also confirmed that "Love Never Dies" is set in America's Coney Island approximately ten years after the beginning of the original story. In those days Coney Island was one of the wonders of the world, far eclipsing the excesses of Las Vegas today. The story continues the tale of the Phantom, Raoul, Christine, Madame Giry and Meg."

Andrew Lloyd Webber was recently voted the most influential figure in theatre over the last decade by UK's The Stage newspaper.

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 and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Photo of Anthony Crivello and Sierra Boggess by Joan Marcus



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