'Phantom' sequel 'Love Never Dies' on the horizon

I THINK this column was the first to tell you, long ago, that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to his famous “Phantom of the Opera” would take place in New York and present the Phantom alive, having escaped from the fire. Then it would segue on to big drama amid the fairgrounds of Coney Island. (I can’t tell you how many people made fun of me for this item, as if I had dreamed it up all by myself.)

But on Oct. 8, Daily Variety broke the story with the dates, which were confirmed at a U.K. press conference: The world premiere of “Love Never Dies” occurs March 9 in London and segues to Broadway Nov. 11, 2010. Over 100 million people have seen the original, and there’s no reason they won’t want to see the sequel.

Actors Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess will be starring as the Phantom and Christine. So there!

“I’M PAYING $20 million to a woman I believe is the love child of Bernie Madoff and Heather Mills!”

So exclaims the former “Monty Python” star John Cleese wherever he goes these days with his latest one-man show. He says he needs money because of the expensive divorce settlement with Alyce Eichelberger, a woman he wed back in 1992. Mr. Cleese calls this European extravaganza his “How to Finance Your Divorce Tour.” He refers to his psychotherapist wife’s divorce lawyer as being one of the monstrous Orcs from “The Lord of the Rings.”

John, age 70, likes to startle his audience by saying, “Imagine how much I would have had to pay if Alyce had contributed anything to the relationship — such as children or a conversation.”

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