‘Phantom of the Opera’ sequel dies

Andrew Lloyd Webber show to shutter

Love Never Dies,” Andrew Lloyd Webber’s much-hyped sequel to the record-breaking “The Phantom of the Opera,” has failed to live up to its title: The London show will shutter Aug. 27 after just 18 months.

Following its March 2010 opening at the 1,469-seat Adelphi Theater, most reviews for the long-gestating tuner were poor, and marketing campaigns that downplayed the show’s status as a sequel were reversed to point to its predecessor to boost sales. The show also suffered from the widely circulated name “Paint Never Dries,” coined by a Web review.

Unsatisfied with the production, Lloyd Webber reworked the show, helmed by Jack O’Brien, designed by Bob Crowley and lit by Paule Constable. It was closed for four nights to re-order and restructure the material, with additional lyrics by Charles Hart, under the uncredited hand of producer Bill Kenwright.

But despite more positive reviews, tuner failed to take off. Nominated for seven Olivier awards, it walked away empty-handed. An incarnation of the show opened in Melbourne, Australia, on May 28, helmed by Simon Phillips, to a far more positive press.

Lloyd Webber blamed the failure of the London run on his diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer prior to rehearsals.

Regarding Phillips’ new version, he said, “There is no question that this production cannot be improved upon. It is fabulous to look at, and they completely understand what I’m trying to get at with the score.”

A Gotham transfer failed to materialize and Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group has not said whether the Oz version will travel.