'Phantom' sequel seeks more rehearsal time

The first West End preview of “Love Never Dies,” Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to “The Phantom of the Opera,” has been canceled.

Originally skedded to begin performances at the Adelphi Theater on Feb. 20, the first preview will now take place on Monday, Feb. 22. No show was skedded for Feb. 21, which is a Sunday, when the majority of London legit offerings are dark.

According to a statement released by the Really Useful Group, the show’s producers, the delay is “to allow two days’ extra rehearsal time and a break to ensure that the first performance is not presented by a company and crew exhausted at the end of a long technical week. The producers have taken this decision early, halfway through the complex technical period, in order to ensure that all affected are able to make other arrangements as soon as possible.”

Industry insiders had long been skeptical of a production sked that allowed less than three weeks’ technical rehearsal onstage with full company and crew ahead of previews — a relatively short period for a £6 million ($9.4 million) tuner.

The producers had held back tickets for performances on March 5 and March 8 in case of such an eventuality. Ticketholders for the canceled preview will be able to move to one of these dates, attend later in the run, or gain a full refund.

The March 9 opening night remains unchanged. A Broadway incarnation of the tuner is skedded to open in Gotham in November.

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