The roots of "Love Never Dies" go back to at least 1997, when author Frederick Forsyth published, with Lloyd Webber's endorsement, his novel 'The Phantom of Manhattan'. There was some talk of Lloyd Webber adapting the story for the stage, but, with the book's poor reception, the idea of a Phantom sequel hung in limbo while Lloyd Webber worked on other projects.
In early March of 2007, in his website's video blog, Andrew Lloyd Webber announced that he would officially be moving forward in the production of a Phantom sequel. He wasn't ready to release all the details yet, but was able to divulge that it would be set in New York City.
In May 2007, Frederick Forsyth was confirmed to be collaborating with Lloyd Webber on the plot of the new musical. Forsyth, however, was soon dropped from the production team.
The Production TeamEdit
Tim Rice, who had collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Webber in the past, was alleged to have been approached to be the lyricist for the sequel, but eventually Glen Slater was chosen for the job. Later announcements included Ben Elton as the librettist, Jack O'Brien as the director, and Bob Crowley, who will be the designer of the sequel.
As the production process progressed and those involved began to get a better grasp of who the characters were and how they had changed since the first musical, casting also began to be more seriously considered. Many names were mentioned in connection to the part of Erik, including Michael Crawford (the original London and Broadway Phantom), and Gerard Butler (who portrayed the Phantom in the 2004 film version of the musical). But none were more strongly rumored than West End and television star John Barrowman. In July 2007 it was confirmed that Barrowman was Lloyd Webber's own personal choice for the role. As of May 2008, Barrowman has confirmed that he is in the process of deciding between two roles: Erik in Phantom 2 or the title role in Cameron Mackintosh's production of Barnum, which are both planned to begin their runs in late 2009. Also in July 2007, Lloyd Webber talked about his choice to play Christine in the sequel: mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins. Lloyd Webber has met with both her and Barrowman, and, when seeing them together reportedly said "That's it, I have my two romantic leads." However, more recent and reliable articles have quoted Lloyd Webber as being very tight-lipped on the identities of the future stars.
The Musical is NamedEdit
'The Phantom of Coney Island' became a front-runner as a possible name for the musical after it was discovered that The Really Useful Group (Lloyd Webber's production company) had recently registered the domain name of 'phantomofconeyisland.com'. In May 2008, on the live finale of his show I'd Do Anything, Andrew Lloyd Webber made the announcement that the sequel would likely be called 'Phantom: Once Upon Another Time'.
However on September 14, 2008, during the BBC's Birthday in the Park concert celebrating his 60th birthday, Andrew Lloyd-Webber announced, in what he called an 'exclusive', that the title shall actually be "Love Never Dies".
Preview at SydmontonEdit
In July 2008, the first act of Love Never Dies was performed at Lloyd Webber's annual Sydmonton Festival. From the plot summary provided by attendants of this preview, it seems to be quite similar to the Phantom of Manhattan novel, with the largest apparent difference being that, rather than an amusement park designer, Erik becomes a freakshow proprietor after he reached New York. In the preview, the Phantom was played by Ramin Karimloo, while Raoul was played by Alistair Robbins.
A theatre company in Portugal is reportedly also currently working on a sequel to Phantom-- this time the original Gaston Leroux novel. This musical will be called The Phantom of Paris, and is planned to debut in London's West End in 2009. The only base for this is the "Company" website http://www.phantomvonparis.com.pt/index.htm The company is held by another company named World Discovery Company S.A. However no such companies has ever produced a single show in Portugal, and the truth of this show happening is very dubious.
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