BWW Interview: Alyssa Giannetti of LOVE NEVER DIES at The Fisher Theatre Says It Is A Beautiful Experience Not To Be Missed!
Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies will open its North American tour here in Detroit on October 17th at the Fisher Theatre and hometown cast member Alyssa Giannetti could not be more thrilled to be part of the production. "This is an amazing sequel," she said. "It's a really gorgeous story filled with love, excitement, discovery, smoke and mirrors, creepy creatures, and uniqueness. It is such a beautiful story."
This new tour of Love Never Dies, and for the first time ever touring in the United States, features extensive reworking since the rework of the Australian premiere in 2011. The production is directed by Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical) with a new set, costumes designed by Gabriela Tylesova, choreography by 2011 Astaire Award winner Graeme Murphy, lighting design by Nick Schlieper, and sound design by Mick Potter. The show is one of the few instances of a major West End musical being given a complete makeover for subsequent productions. Andrew Lloyd Webber said he knew about five minutes into seeing its first run-through that he and the new production team had achieved something special. "I have the great joy of being able to say that I think this production is probably the finest one I could ever, ever hope for."
Love Never Dies takes places in the year 1907, ten years after the events of The Phantom of the Opera, where the story follows the Phantom, Christine, and Raoul. The Phantom has found a new life for himself in New York amongst the freak shows at Coney Island where he can perform his music, but he has never stopped yearning for his one true love and musical protégée. "Raoul and Christine have married, but Christine is the breadwinner of their relationship and family because she has become this big opera star," explained Giannetti. "A lot has changed in ten years and she is holding the family together. She is offered a big job in America, which is a great opportunity for her not only to sing, but also because Raoul might be gambling too much."
Giannetti went on to explain that one of the great aspects of the show is to see the growth in the characters, especially Christine, who in the first production was getting told what to do, when to sing, how to sing. Now in this production, we see her growth and is able to make choices that make her happy, that serve her as this grown woman who is looking out for her child and also what she needs in life. "It is really beautiful to see how she teaches her son to treat other people," she said. "Christine says this line to him, 'look with your heart and not with your eyes,' and I think right now we need that message of not looking at each person just based on what they look like, but looking with your heart in a loving way to each person and just base it on who they are as a human. It's a really beautiful show about love."
When asked how Phantom fans will feel about a sequel, Giannetti answered with so much enthusiasm, "I'm obsessed with this show," and to say that she is a Phantom fan would be an understatement. The Michigan native grew up in Bloomfield Hills and was a self-proclaimed athlete with the swim team. After performing as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera during her junior year of high school, she quit the swim team, changed career paths and applied to musical schools after senior year already started, which is typically later than most music study applicants. She ended up studying opera performance at Northwestern University and now here she is with her first professional job after graduation playing a swing that covers all eight of the ensemble women roles and understudying Christine, the role that started it all for her. "Phantom changed my life. And here I am performing on the stage I used to see shows at with my family regularly. My parents got married in the 80s during the time of the mega musicals and my mom's bridesmaids actually walked down the aisle to 'All I Ask of You,'" she said. "The Phantom world has been in my life for a really long time. You can say I'm truly a Phantom fan. I feel so lucky to able to be part of this amazing sequel."
Yes, it is a sequel, but it is not necessary to have seen The Phantom of the Opera first to enjoy the show. Will it make it better to have watched and enjoyed it? Of course. But if you come in as a theatre goer for a night out to see a new show making its debut national tour in America, you will still enjoy yourself. "It is really a completely different world. It's really spooky and lots of smoke and mirrors. We are in a freak show circus kind of world so it's definitely much weirder since you are not at the opera house; you are in Coney Island," said Giannetti. "There are moments where it will feel connected to Phantom, which I think people will enjoy such as snippets of music, the show structure of a show within a show, and some of the costumes, but I think it is really exciting to see something totally new. The music is just brilliant. But it's a totally different, spooky, and really dark world that I think takes the show even further. Like I said, I'm obsessed and I love it so I hope people will like it!"
"This is the first American national tour of Love Never Dies, so no one else has seen this in America and that's really special," she said. She describes the show as a spectacle and like nothing else that has been seen on stage before. "You need to come see it. You need to complete the story and get the full experience," Giannetti said. "I also think that people need to come see this show because I think our country needs a little bit of an escape and to be told that we need to love each other. This story is about love, but it's also beautiful. The set will take you into this world where everything is celebrated. Also, for Phantom fans sake, don't you want to hear the rest of the story? Do you want to be left on a cliffhanger? I know I didn't! And I just think this is such a beautiful story. Everything as a whole is such a beautiful experience. And it's not too long, I promise, it will just be a great escape for everyone for those two hours to be in this world of beauty."
Love Never Dies opens October 17th at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit. For more information and tickets, www.BroadwayInDetroit.com.