×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Could ‘Love Never Dies’ Live Again on Broadway?

Like the Phantom of the Opera — and “The Phantom of the Opera” — “Love Never Dies” isn’t dead yet.

The musical, mega-composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to his record-breaking smash “Phantom of the Opera,” is showing signs of life on the road in the U.S., where the title is turning heads at the box office after a dispiritingly brief premiere engagement on the West End eight years ago.

“We’ve got eight shows on the road right now, and ‘Love Never Dies’ is outselling them all,” said Randy Buck, CEO of Troika Entertainment, the touring musical producer with road versions of “An American in Paris” and “On Your Feet!” among its stable. “Love” is doing so well, in fact, that Buck cops to bigger dreams for the show.

“Broadway is certainly a possibility,” he said. “We are looking at that for early next year. I think we would come in, in a limited-engagement scenario, but we’ll see. That’s still up in the air.”

A New York run for “Love Never Dies” would mark a major vindication for the show, originally staged by Broadway regulars Jack O’Brien and Jerry Mitchell (“Hairspray”). When the March 2010 West End premiere got panned by critics — U.K. theater wags memorably dubbed the musical “Paint Never Dries” — producers (including Lloyd Webber) closed the production for a couple days later that year for retooling. Even with revisions, the show didn’t make it past August 2011, the blink of an eye compared with the 32 years “Phantom” has run on the West End (and the 30 it’s played in New York). A planned Broadway incarnation never materialized.

But a further revamped version of “Love Never Dies,” led by Australian director Simon Phillips (“Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” the new musical adaptation of “Muriel’s Wedding”), spurred good buzz out of Melbourne and Sydney, and a filmed version of that staging (released in 2012) helped spread the word. The production has since played Tokyo (in 2014) and Hamburg (starting in 2015), and is now playing a U.S. tour that includes the current three-week stop at L.A.’s Pantages Theatre.

The plot of “Love Never Dies,” based on the characters created by Gaston Leroux in the serialized 1909 novel that inspired “Phantom,” picks up a decade after the events of the first musical. Christine, the central ingenue of “Phantom,” receives a mysterious invitation to Coney Island, where she, her increasingly distant husband, Raoul, and her young son find themselves in the shadow of the Phantom once more.

According to Phillips, the bulk of his work centered on smoothing out a narrative shift that sees the Phantom becoming the story’s romantic hero and the formerly heroic
Raoul becoming more flawed. “It seemed to me that initially the danger that’s inside the Phantom’s character got lost too much,” he said. “We thought, ‘Let’s restore his character back to this more unpredictably violent force, and let’s restore some empathy for Raoul.’ ”

Even with the newfound buzz abroad, “Love Never Dies” still carried the whiff of disappointment — or at least it did to the U.S.’ network of regional tour presenters. “The challenge was never to convince the ticket-buying public,” Buck noted. “The challenge was trying to get the presenters to come around to it.”

Now that presenters have programmed it, they seem to have no regrets.

“There’s no comparison to ‘Phantom,’ which is still the king of the road,” said Gina Vernaci, executive director of Cleveland Playhouse Square, where “Love Never Dies” raked in $3.4 million in a three-week run. “But people vote with their feet, and an awful lot of feet showed up for ‘Love Never Dies.’ ”

More Legit

  • Jagged Little Pill review

    Broadway Review: 'Jagged Little Pill'

    Nearly 25 years after “Jagged Little Pill” hit the shelves of record stores, Alanis Morissette’s innovative 1995 album has arrived on Broadway under the muscular direction of Diane Paulus, who launched this galvanic production at the American Repertory Theater. The show’s supportive book by screenwriter Diablo Cody interprets Morissette’s musical idiom as a universal domestic [...]

  • Claire Warden

    Listen: Let's Talk About Sex Onstage

    The craft of intimacy direction is taking Broadway by storm — and on the latest episode of Variety’s Stagecraft, Broadway’s first intimacy director explains why, and breaks down the ways in which she’s helping to revolutionize how actors get intimate onstage. Listen to this week’s podcast below: Warden, whose credits this season include “Jagged Little [...]

  • Dan Stevens

    Mark Addy, Dan Stevens Head Broadway Cast of 'Hangmen'

    Mark Addy and Dan Stevens will appear in the Broadway premiere of Martin McDonagh’s “Hangmen.” Addy, best known for his work on “Game of Thrones” and “The Full Monty,” starred in the off-Broadway production of the black comedy. It’s the first time Stevens, beloved for his turn on “Downton Abbey,” has appeared on the Great [...]

  • Dear Evan Hansen Jordan Fisher

    Jordan Fisher Joins 'Dear Evan Hansen' in Title Role on Broadway

    Jordan Fisher will be Broadway’s next Evan Hansen, joining the cast of “Dear Evan Hansen” in the musical’s title role. Fisher, best known to theater enthusiasts for his stint in “Hamilton” and playing Mark Cohen in Fox’s “Rent: Live,” will play the role for a limited 16-week engagement starting Jan. 28. “Evan Hansen is a [...]

  • SUBJECTS] seen at the Lincoln Center

    Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall Set for Major Renovation

    Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall is set to undergo a major renovation that will lead to the facility being closed for months-long stretches starting in 2022. Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic announced Monday that the overhaul will require the temporary shuttering of Geffen Hall from May 2022 through October 2022 and again from [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content