Love Never Dies

October 4, 2017 Baltimore, MD, USA

Who: My MIL, my neighbor, and I
What: Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Weber's sequel to The Phantom of the Opera
When: October 2017
Where: The Hippodrome Theatre, Baltimore, MD
Why: How could I miss this show's US debut?

Thoughts: LND was announced back in 2008. Fans including myself were infuriated at the thought of a Phantom sequel, especially one based on a fan fiction novel that was so different from the original story. The show didn't last long at all on the West End and it looked like curious US theatre nerds would never see the show, set in Coney Island 10 years after the original Phantom. I did get my hands on the original cast recording, so I have some reference for comparison.

Thankfully (maybe), the show was re-worked and a new production launched in Australia in 2011. It was screened in movie theaters briefly by Fathom Events where I saw it for the first time (I've since bought and now on the blu-ray disc of this production).  By this time, my original emotions had calmed enough that I could watch the show and enjoy it for what it was. While parts of the story (mainly drastic alterations of character) still irked me, the music was gorgeous, and if you could ignore the inconsistencies between stories, it was still an enjoyable show (there's no denying this is a sequel, fans will notice musical themes from the original Phantom are present in LND).

That brings us to now, nearly 10 years later. It's 2017 and LND has made it to the states in the form of a national tour. Will it ever make it to Broadway? Who knows.  The tour made a super short stop in New York state before coming to Baltimore for a preview engagement (the official opening is technically at the tour's next stop in Detroit). Tickets sold surprisingly quick, indicating interest for this production stateside is huge. I ended up going to the show on a Tuesday instead of my usual Thursday as seats had sold so quickly.

Like in Australia, many changes were made to the production, mostly changed lyrics and added themes from the original Phantom. I thought the themes struck a nice balance in the previous production, but in the US tour, it felt like overkill. It seemed like they tried to stuff an original Phantom theme into every single scene and it cheapened LND as it's own show. A few lyrical and dialogue changes did answer questions I had from the previous version, but overall I'd say I many changes weren't needed. I personally feel that the Australian production is  the strongest version of this story after being familiarized with the 3 major productions (there have been other productions in Germany and other non-English speaking countries that I can't comment on). One strong change wasa slight re-staging of the finale; I found this version to be the strongest of the 3 I'm familiar with.

Technically, the show I saw was a preview performance which is good because some things need to be worked on. I got a sense overall that the cast wasn't comfortable or confident in every scene, there were some sound balance issues, and even some blocking issues, one of which really made part of the finale not make sense. I'm sure all of these will be resolved with feedback and practice. The cast is super talented, but my one complaint is that the Phantom, Gardar Thor Cortes, has a lovely voice but also has a thick European accent that makes his lyrics difficult to understand. For a US tour, this doesn't seem like the best casting choice to me.

Overall? See it because you're curious. The bottom line with LND in my opinion is that the music and visuals are stunning but the story is just a pig that the production team is constantly trying to put a new shade of lipstick on. I think said pig looks loveliest in the Aussie production, but there's nothing like a live show, so you be the judge!

Will you see Love Never Dies? Let me know in the comments below.

Read about the other shows I've seen here.

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  1. Sounds interesting, but I don't know how anything could possibly live up to the original! I love Phantom!

  2. So how far after the original is the sequel supposed to take place? I'm curious about the plot now.

  3. Can you believe I've never seen Phantom of the Opera?! I really want to! And then obviously I need to see this next ;)

  4. Sounds like a cool show. I loved Phantom of the Opera.

  5. I had no idea there was a sequel!

  6. Dang, too bad they took it too far. I didn't even know there was a sequel

  7. Sequels are hard when the original is so good! Sounds like they still have some bugs to work out with this one, but I would still go see it. :)

  8. I LOVED Phantom of the Opera! I need to find a way to see this! I love theater and it seems like this sequel is worth enough to see.

  9. I had no idea there was a sequel, I need to see it!!

  10. How did I not know there was a sequel!? PotO was the first production I ever saw!


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