Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Love Never Dies’ Review

Kristen Elizabeth

Born and raised in Florida, but currently living in Los Angeles, Kristen spent most of her life wanting to be in the movies until she realized that she wanted to write for them more. When she's not patronizing the Arclight theatre, she can be found either reading a good, old-fashioned bodice ripper, discussing the failures of George Lucas with her friends over cherry pie at Mel's Diner or trying to round up one or more of her Star Trek RPG players. She's a proud member of the Romance Writers of America and recently finished her first novel.

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  • Suzanne

    Really?  The moment you declare the the Phantom is a ‘villain’, you have missed the point of not only PotO, but LND entirely.  The beauty is in what lies beneath the facade.  All little girls are taught to believe in fairy tales, and happily ever after.  The reality is that all of it is so much fluff and nonsense.  Christine has a choice, her childish fantasy of the dashing empty headed aristocrat doomed to failure like all fairy tale dreams are once reality sets in; or the only man of substance whose passion so mirrors her own, but is vilified by society as an outcast, who has a chip on his shoulder as a result.   You don’t understand the Phantom at all.  Raoul represents the ideology that wealth, charm, and sense of moral superiority is the ideal choice, the fairy tale that lacks passion and substance.  He viewed Christine as an object to be won, and paraded around as a prize.  She was a bird in a cage, a possession.  He gave her an empty fairy tale without passion or love, just the prestige of a trophy wife, and he despised her for her music.  The Phantom, her angel of music, adored her, and embraced and nurtured her passion for music.  She echoed his own soul, ugly and disfigured that he might be.  Society called him outcast, and taught him to hate and despise them in return.  All he did was for her, to ensure that her music would be heard.  Christine saw beneath, but her passion frightened her, and she was young and naive.  In the end she let herself be swayed by the fairy tale as the path she should chose.  She regretted her choice even as she left the Phantom for the last time in PotO.  Life is about what lies beneath, and not judging others because they are not what you believe to be fairy tale ideal.  

    • Cosette

      You realize no performance of Phantom is the same? Different actors can make you see the story in different ways. What you’re saying isn’t universal to every preformance.

      • Suzanne

        I have seen 3 productions of PotO, and 2 productions of LND.  I have never missed the substance for the subterfuge regardless of the actors in their respective roles.  As for universal, you see or don’t see what lies beneath.  :)

    • Anonymous

       I respect your opinion, and on some level, I agree with it, but not when applied to the Phantom.  This man killed two people in cold blood and endangered hundreds of lives to prove his so-called love.  I’m sorry; that’s not true love.  Just because he’s a tragic figure does not make him a hero or even an anti-hero. 

      • Suzanne

        Hero?  I never alluded that the Phantom was a hero, he just isn’t a villain.  As for cold blooded killings, why yes they were indeed.  One who lives a life of ostracism, disdain, ridicule, and mockery often tends to be a product of his environment with severe anger issues and little self control.  Was he a bit unbalanced in his response to further mockery and ridicule, of course he was.  There is a often a fine line between rage and passion, extreme emotions for anyone.  Christine was the equilibrium of his psyche, when she was threatened in his eyes, his instinct was to protect her and exact revenge in the only way he knew.  The Phantom understood passion, and love, it was how he expressed his displeasure that was the problem, if only he’d had a therapist.  :))  We don’t always express ourselves appropriately, these are things we learn from others.  

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/NEBNQ3F3PV7IUP32WM5KYJXPEU Paul

          While I agree he was a product of his environment, that doesn’t make him any less a villain. Even if it was the only way he knew to express himself, he still decided to do it. If “Guy A” spent his entire life being raped, and being around nothing but rape, then decided to go out and rape dozens of women because that is the only way he knows how to express himself, he would still be a villain in some peoples eyes.

          • Suzanne

            You are correct, in some people’s eyes he could never be anything else but narrowly defined as a villain.  While most people would not go to the Phantom’s extremes, we are each of us very capable of doing so.  Our experiences guide our choices, right or wrong.  Ask yourself this, and do so honestly, when did you perceive the Phantom as the villain of PotO?  When you heard the title?  When you see him for the 1st time on stage?  When he makes demands of the owners to further Christine’s career?  When he comes to the dressing room and secrets Christine away to his lair?  When he kills for the 1st time?  It may not surprise you to know, that many people say the title, because a Phantom by its nature stands in opposition to accepted societal norms.  Cheers!  

    • Cliff

       Did we see the same play? Raoul sought to possess Christine and keep her in a cage? Raoul? Not the Phantom? You know, the casual multiple murderer who actually kidnapped and imprisoned her and threatened her and others with death when he didn’t get his way? Yeah he’s not a villain at all.

      • Suzanne

        However pretty the trappings of the cage, it was indeed a cage.  Raoul was as much a victim of his circumstances as well.  That doesn’t change the point at all however.  Things went awry when people sought to derail Christine’s rise upon the stage.  So the Phantom took extreme measures, whether you agree with them or not.  As for his kidnapping and threatening of Christine, in his eyes, she was being removed from bad influences so that she could become the diva she was meant to be without ‘distractions’.  Was it the sane choice, no.  Perhaps you see things as black and white, so in that respect by all means he’s a ‘villain’.  Unfortunately, the Phantom lies within the grey area and his story is not so cut and dry.  

    • Opera Kitty

      I’m sorry. In WHAT WORLD is it OK to KILL people so your “muse” can sing? In what world is it OK to manipulate and lie to a woman so she will love you? In what world is it OK to threaten to kill someone’s CHILD so that they will sing? In what world is it OK to make a BET over the FATE of someone else and not tell them their choice to fulfill a contract they are obligated to means you are choosing your destiny?

      In the original, the Phantom is looking POSESS Christine. Until the moment she gives him back the ring in the final lair, until that moment when he says “Christine, I love you,” he has not LOVED Christine. Raoul risks his life to save Christine. He is willing to DIE so that she can be free. How does this make him an empty-headed pretty boy? WHERE do you get the idea Raoul wanted her as a “bird in a cage” or a “trophy wife?”

      The character assasinations of LND do not follow any logic from the original show. Given the characters we are presented with in LND, BOTH men are inexcusably abusive, and the only way I would like it is if Christine were to walk away from the both.

      • Suzanne

        See how easy it is to inspire passion?  Love, obsession, desire, madness, rage, passion…they inspire us, drive us, torment us, and leave us vulnerable to our darkest natures.  Destruction of the very thing we profess to love through our desire to have and to hold, is often the harsh reality of life.  Understanding what drives a person, is not the same as condoning their actions. 

        The Phantom did not love Christine before the end?…but it was love that drew him to her the moment he heard her sing.  It was the one true thing that resonated in his dark, tortured soul.  He had no concept how to woo her, he’d been taught nothing but fear, loathing, and contempt by society.  
        He hid himself from her, and did not tell her the truth of his nature.  People lie to each other every single day, pretend to be something they are not, and LIE and HIDE behind masks.  That is the beauty of PotO and LND, its a mirror.  As for what world is it OK to KILL people, you live in one in which lives are sold cheaply, where few have compassion for their fellow man because they are different, be it dress, faith, status, what have you.  That doesn’t make it OK at all. Christine sees more to the Phantom’s nature, the glimmer of what could be if only he could know kindness, and compassion.  Yes she’s frightened, horrified by the darkness in him, a sane person would be.  But, even in her deepest fears, she feels compassion and even love. The Phantom tries to be better than his darkest nature, but isn’t always successful is he?  Yes, he manipulated Christine again by bringing her to NY.  Yes, yes he once more falls off the wagon and gives into his dark side by threatening her child, which he actually genuinely regrets.  As for the bet…have you never seen two men fighting over the affections of the same girl before?  Please, ‘if she sings, you leave’ is tame compared to the stupidity to which men can stoop when they want something.  One could wonder why Raoul didn’t mention the bet, since he is such an upstanding, and loving husband.  Christine could have chosen to go with Raoul in the end, and the Phantom would have let her go once more.  

        There is more of the Phantom in ourselves than we are comfortable admitting at times.  Most of us are just better at keeping our darker natures at bay than he was.  Cheers.

    • Sally

      Both men viewed Christine as an object to be won. In POTO, however, Raoul also loved her enough to die to save her. In LND…nope. He puts her up as collateral in a bet.

      In POTO, the Phantom, with the kiss, realizes how wrong he had been and lest Christine go; In LND he (and the authors) have forgotten that moment of realization when the Phantom did what was probably the first unselfish thing he has ever done and does nothing that is not selfish and self serving. 

      In LND, neither man is worth having or shows real love.

      • Suzanne

        Ah, love, the most destructive emotion there is.  Are we all not in many ways selfish and self-serving in our pursuit of love?  It is the extent to which we go that is at question, emphasized by PotO and LND.  Right, or wrong, it is simply love.  

        Christine is responsible for her own fate, as are we all.  Sometimes knowing is not a kindness.  

        • Sally

          Ahhhhh, love! 

          Love conquers all! Love Never Dies! Right or wrong, it’s love.

          Nuts. If the Phantom in this story remembered anything about real love (not *just* passionate lust and desire) that he realized in Phantom of the Opera, which he doesn’t, he wouldn’t have done all of the things he does in LND, things that destroy the lives of most of the main characters. Fans of the show looooove listening to him sing about how much he looooongs for Christine, and they enjoy watching his selfishness play out to the unfortunate ending. 

          If we think about these characters as real people as fans enjoy doing, he’s a jerk, Raoul isn’t much better, and Christine is unfortunately back being the helpless pawn she was throughout most of the first part of Phantom of the Opera. Once Mr Y. touches her, she’s a goner, and after that, she hasn’t much choice about anything. 

          Characters in romances don’t have to be thoroughly nice people, but I can’t like any of the ones in LND enough to care about them—except for the the poor who’s-the-daddy boy. He loses his mother, and although we are to BELIEVE now that he has found his natural father, all will be touchingly well—probably not.

          • Dragonz Fyre

            You really didn’t like Love Never Dies at all did you?  Well, as sad as I think that is, you don’t seem to be alone.  I just liked the possibility of it all, the what if…I think we have all played out scenarios of what if with these beloved characters over the years.  This was just one vision.  I’m happy with it, and I’ll still envision more what if’s now and then.  I’m going to figure out the whole ‘when did the tryst happen’ in the timeline…I will squash it into submission if only to resolve it to my own satisfaction lol.   

  • Hislordshiprobertcrawley

    Regardless of whatever you think of Christine’s choice, the plain fact is that, as you said, the plot of Love Never Dies is just stretched too far. It isn’t at all believable and just comes across as an unpleasantly surreal and silly. ‘Once Upon Another Time’, ‘Till I Hear You Sing Once More’ and the title song are all lovely but the plot is just ridiculous.

    • Anonymous

       I totally agree.  The story was better left alone:(

    • Suzanne

      I believe you are referencing more the drivel called Twilight.  Talk about plotless, pointless, and ridiculous.   We will agree to disagree on PotO and LND.  :)

  • Suzanne

    I am so glad I opted to spark a discussion by questioning the perceived validity of the status quo and accepted morality of societal norms.  I appreciate all your opinions.  I question everything, and accept nothing at face value, always trying to see beneath.  I encourage others to do the same.  Believe me when I say that the feelings you have all expressed as a result of my original post are quite expected and normal.  PotO and LND gives us a unique platform upon which to question our perceptions admirably, don’t you agree?  I love both productions on their own merits, each has its weak points, but then so does everything.  It is hard for someone else’s vision to always meet your own in every regard.  Love them, hate them…they are a part of us now.  We are all richer for having known them…would you not agree?  I hope everyone has at least one opportunity to see these productions live, its an experience that will stay with you, no matter what you feel for the Phantom :).  Cheers!

    • Dragonz Fyre

      Well, you certainly lit a bonfire under people here lol.  I don’t think they wanted to consider the psychology of it all, but were simply content with the Phantom being the villainous letch they wanted him to be lol.  I think he’s pretty tragic all things considered.  I’d probably take on the bad boy and try to set him right…but that is just me lol.  I do agree that they are a part of us, for good or ill, with all their warts.  I’m in the minority of liking Love Never Dies, but that’s okay. It was pretty gutsy to stand up for the Phantom, I’ll stand there with you, why not.  

      • Suzanne

        😛  Why thank you, I love to encourage passionate discussions.  Bad boys can be a weakness for many women, I fell for one or two over the years :).  Could I fall for the Phantom…when he’s played by enticing men, sure :).  I’d throw over Raoul in a heartbeat in that case, though he’s played by some enticing men also…hmmmm.  Controversy loves company, so welcome to the dark side :))

  • Dragonz Fyre

    Okay, this is an interesting discussion on so many levels.  I just saw the Phantom on Broadway two months ago, it was incredible.  I also just watched the 25 years edition at Royal Albert Hall, which was very good too, although I’m not a fan of Sierra, something about her vocals is throwing me.  As for Love Never Dies, I saw the film on opening night and going again tonight.  

    I can see where the Phantom is a multi-layered character, which obviously causes very definite feelings from utterly appalled, to tragically misunderstood.  I think that while he’s broken and tragic, his actions must have consequences.  Violence just isn’t the answer.  But, I can see where he was driven way beyond his point of no return, and losing his battle against his inner darkness where Christine was concerned.  To be honest, she was the worst possible choice for him to love at all, she was just so young and naive, he doomed himself really.  I didn’t have much feeling about Raoul at all to be honest, but he did come off as just another aristocrat, or fairy tale prince type like mentioned.  He doesn’t really come off as a selfless hero to me either.  Just my opinion.

    My only real issue with the whole Love Never Dies, is the timeline in relation to Phantom.  I’ve been trying to work it through, but it is just not fitting.  It can’t possibly be 1905 and be only 10 years later than Phantom, which is in the mid 1880’s…do the math any way you like but it isn’t 10 years.  As for the tryst under a moonless sky, well, stranger things have happened, and Christine is nothing if not a bit foolish and feather-headed at the best of times.  Although the only plausible scenario would be for it to have occurred after the end of Phantom in the few months that followed.  Perhaps Christine had an epiphany, and just couldn’t get her beloved yet frightening Phantom out of her head, and say Raoul was oh, inattentive and not the catch she thought him to be.  Weirder things have happened.  Historically speaking, few in aristocratic society would have considered Christine to be ideal wife material, diva though she was.  It seemed in Love Never Dies, that was one of the reasons he was so distant with her, and he states he resented her music, which only proves the point.  So yes, she could have sought out Phantom, and given in to her darker side, and been one mad banshee when he left her alone.  I actually liked the production, even if it doesn’t fit into any reasonable timeline.  I loved Anna’s vocal performance as Christine much more than Sierra’s at any rate.  I can live with the quirks.  

    I love the Phantom, as dark and twisted as he may be.  I could have found myself trying to urge him toward the better angels of his nature.  Okay, maybe I like the bad boys too much, but everyone deserves a chance to be better than they thought they could be, right?  

    • Sally

      I don’t give a hoot in hell for Suzanne’s “the perceived validity of the status quo and accepted morality of societal norms.” The issue of the timeline isn’t really of much importance in itself; it’s just indicative of how *little* the creators of LND, mainly Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton, cared about any continuity with Phantom of the Opera—except when including bit of music and a few other allusions to POTO that would, they hoped, give the audience something familiar to tie the sequel to the original and give the audience something to go “Oooooo” and “Awwwww” about.

      My issue is that they wrote and produced a sequel to a show that ends nearly perfectly,taking the same characters, changed for the worse,  through ANOTHER series of events involving the SAME decision by Christine ( pick this one—or that one), adding in a who’s-the-daddy sub-plot—all of which undercuts and belies the effective and satisfying ending of the original. 
      Lloyd Webber had a perfect right to write a sequel. That doesn’t mean it was a good idea then, now, or ever.

      • Dragonz Fyre

        LOL…a hoot in hell eh?  Now that is funny.  I just saw the encore, and I caught a lot that I didn’t the first go round.  Like the timeline is now resolved, cause I never realized that Webber changed the time frame for his Phantom script from the original book that inspired it.  1895 + 10 is indeed 1905 lol.  Also, I think you just have to take this whole production on individual terms and not read in the subtext from Phantom.  On its own, it works in its way.  My daughter hasn’t seen Phantom yet, but she actually enjoyed Love Never Dies tonight, and she isn’t a musical loving gal in any way.  She only went to keep me company.  

        I actually think Suzanne was trying to get the discussion going by taking an unpopular position of defending the Phantom as not being a villain, to make people think.  I certainly did.  I remember a lot of what she said from my psych and sociology classes.  These productions are allegories…not everyone wants to look that closely at human nature, their own especially.  She isn’t defending his actions, rather the opposite I think, she’s looking at his psyche and his motivations, and his struggle to keep himself in check.  The Phantom doesn’t have any self control, he reacts in extremes.  I think a psychologist would love him as a case study.  

        Christine is still a bit feather-headed, and Raoul, well, he just became self absorbed and wasn’t much of a husband.  I too love Gustav, poor young man.  He seemed to be the best of them all…which I believe was actually the real point of Love Never Dies.  In my opinion anyway.  

        • Arianna Armon

          In taking LND “on individual terms” and ignoring the source material – which is ALW’s Phantom of the Opera, so, really, ignoring the source material is ridiculous, but, what ever.  Let’s ignore that.  Let’s break it down to it’s most basic storytelling.  What are we left with?  We are left with an obsessive, abusive stalker, a drunk, verbally abusive husband, and a victimized, abused woman who does NOTHING to better her situation.  If your daughter were in this situation, you would not be defending either of these men.  You would not be ENCOURAGING her to either man, you would be doing everything you could to get her AWAY from these men.  No amount of justification for WHY the Phantom is the way he is makes it OK.  No amount of justification makes him an acceptable choice.

          At the end of POTO, the Phantom REDEEMS himself by letting Christine go.  LND throws all that out the window and turns him back into what he was in the first place – an obsessive, manipulative stalker.  LND gives us THE SAME STORY as the original – with slightly older characters and a “who’s the baby daddy?” sub-plot.  Unfortunately, it is less well told than the original and gives us unsympathetic and unlikable characters.

          The timeline…well, ALW has NEVER been good with math.  In the original London libretto for Phantom, the prologue takes place in 1905 – with a 70 year old Raoul.  Act I takes place in 1881.  If Raoul is 70 in 1905, in 1881 he would have to be 46.  Act II takes place six months after Act I in 1882.  In the timeline of Phantom, the only time The Phantom and Christine could have had a “night of passion” was after Music of the Night…which means she’d have been visibly pregnant at Masquerade.  If she sought him out after the end of POTO – as LND implies – when LND takes place, the kid being EXACTLY 10 years old is, biologically, impossible if it is truly 10 years after POTO. 

          • Dragonz Fyre

            Yes, yes, yes…and just so we’re clear vampires don’t sparkle, now that is drivel in the extreme.  I get it, you and many others just don’t like Love Never Dies for a multitude of reasons.  I love it for the theatre of it.  I love the characters for who and what the are with all their failings.  More than anything I love the score, and costumes…why, because I am a costume designer and love music.  I can live with quirky plots that don’t do reasonable things or fit snugly into context.  I will enjoy every performance, live or not, because they are beautiful theatrical productions.  

            Where on earth did you get the idea that I was encouraging my daughter to run out and find a Phantom of her own?  You are aware that these characters are fictional right?  What is certain, is that Christine felt compassion for the Phantom, just watch the final scene from Phantom.  That final scene is the driving force of inspiration for Love Never Dies. As for defending them, well, understanding them and what drives them isn’t mitigating what they have done. The Phantom was unhinged and killed people, Raoul was a gambler and a drunk, and Christine was just a bit feather-headed, but finally followed her heart which seems to upset people for some reason.  Gustav is actually 9 not 10, but oh well, plot hole as my daughter would say.  The tryst occurs just after Phantom and before her marriage to Raoul…that took a lot of digging by the way and asking for clarification via The Useful Group.

            In the end, this is theatre, and like all fairy tales it can end the way Lord Webber wanted it to.  He never said you had to watch it, or even agree with it.  So you won’t buy the DVD, or go to a/another live performance of it, somehow, I think he’ll be okay with that.  

            My husband is as far from being anything like the Phantom.  However, human nature being what it is, we all have a dark side.  For the most part, we are just better at controlling it than the Phantom.  If he stood trial for his crimes, a good solicitor would have argued diminished capacity and he’d have been under psychiatric care, not jail.  Just saying.
              

            • Anonymous

               Raoul wasn’t a gambler and a drunk until LND, when they realized they needed to make him a villain in order to somehow convince us that he didn’t deserve Christine.  There was no mention of alcohol or gambling on his part in POTO. 

              • Dragonz Fyre

                I’m beginning to think no one really grasps the fine points, mainly that there aren’t any villains, anti-heroes yes, villains, no.  Raoul wasn’t a villain in either production anyway.  Raoul himself actually tells us in LND that he didn’t deserve Christine and treated her badly their entire marriage, repeatedly.  Kind of hard to argue the point if the character tells you so.  

                • Anonymous

                  But I don’t think it was the character.  I think it was the writer trying to change the character’s nature in order to paint him in a bad light.

                  • Dragonz Fyre

                    Ah but there in lies the rub…writer’s prerogative.  However, many french aristocrats were gamblers and drinkers, heck, it was expected in their society.  So I don’t think ALW stretched the truth or plausibility.  But, that is only my opinion.  

                • Suzanne

                  You are delving into Lit territory with your anti-hero v. villainy…you read how well received my psych lesson went :))).  The dark side is so unpopular.  But, I don’t feel Raoul was a villain for being a drunk and a gambler.

            • Arianna Armon

              Ummm, I was making a point, not suggesting you were actually encouraging your daughter to run after a Phantom of her own.  And please, do NOT condescend to me, I am MORE than aware these are fictional characters.

              • Dragonz Fyre

                I was not being condescending, I was genuinely curious.  I’d rather not assume how you viewed them, that would have been rude, so I asked. To be honest, there are those that believe that these characters are indeed based upon real people, as purported by the original book. I do offer my sincere apologies as you have taken offense, which was unintended.  

                • Suzanne

                  I re-read your original post, I can see why Arianna might think it was condescending.  I don’t think anyone should feel that their opinion isn’t appreciated.  This is a discussion, and we all have our opinions, each of them valid as any other.  So in the words of the bard William Shakespeare: “…if we shadows have offended, think but this, and all is mended…”.  

            • Suzanne

              Oh no…not a Twinkie correlation, please not that.  I wholeheartedly agree, its the theatre of it that matters most of all.  Oh dear, ‘these characters are fictional’…did someone suggest otherwise?  Well you can blame the author of the original book for that I think.  Hey, if we can have a religion stemming from an immaculate conception, then Gustav can be 10 years old, 10 years later.  I just let the plot holes go, and just enjoy the production.  I know that will mystify some people, but hey I live dangerously here on the dark side.  :)

        • Suzanne

          Oh that made my night…lol…’feather-headed’.  You’ve been totally corrupted by the dark side…namely me :P.  No, the psych pathology is not a popular tack here at all.  However, I do like how passionate some of the responses have been throughout the discussion thread.  :))

      • Suzanne

        Meow!  That was a bit scathing, not a hoot in hell?  :)  I can only imagine how completely miserable you must have been paying to watch LND…did you just walk out of the theatre and get a refund?  My theatre was packed both nights, and they definitely ooooo’d and awwwwww’d a lot (all the women received red roses too, that was sweet). I was not the only one who shed a tear at the end…but then I still cry when Bambi’s mother dies after all these years. 😉  

        • Sally

          I didn’t pay to see it, and it was worth every penny :-)     I watched a digital recording.
          The costumes and other production values are excellent. The story is miserable. The characters are distorted to fit the story and are mostly unlikeable. It isn’t just another musical, it’s the official sequel to Phantom of the Opera, and with the DVDs available, it will take it longer to fade away, more’s the pity.I’m encouraged that Phantom of the Opera is still doing well although the longer LND lasts, the more the characters, interpretation, and the ending of POTO are tainted.

  • Dragonz Fyre

    Now, about costumes :)))  

    I was so underwhelmed and shocked by the costuming for Love Never Dies for the London production.   I know they had no Maria Bjornson, but really?  Most of the pieces in London for Christine were not even the slightest historically accurate, most glaringly so was her prom gown for the finale aria. The embossed velvet prom dress with Swarovski crystals was not in any way a 1900-10 Edwardian silhouette, try1920’s at the earliest.  I could give you a ton of historical references to substantiate and support that statement.  As with most of that production, they didn’t even try to get the costuming up to par for any of the characters.  Don’t let the diatribe about how much work and inspiration blah blah blah went into it by their design team, they took no pride in their work and it is glaring.  I can’t abide such poor costuming in a production of this nature, and in London no less, what an embarrassment.  I’ve seen and worked with university productions who took more care in the accuracy and execution of their costume designs, and they have almost no budget to work with.  

    I am a historical costumer, and restorer, and I really have issues with period productions that miss the ballpark entirely.  You can slap shiny shite onto anything to dazzle the eye, it doesn’t mitigate the fact that you didn’t do your homework, or care enough to execute good designs.  

    I held my breath on the Aussie production, so afraid to peak out from behind my fingers.  Saints preserve!  Thank you Gabriela for restoring my faith, Maria would be over the moon!  Now, that said, the designs were historically accurate to 1900-1910.  Some argue that the peacock gown is more 1895, but there is historical support to put it into 1903-7. The silhouette between 1895-1910 did not have a dramatic shift other than the reduction of the bustle, and elongating the corset to create the S-curve.  Keep in mind the peacock is a grand gown with a train…which does keep in line with not only French but British aristocratic/ regal attire.  As a diva and a Vicountess, she was ideally attired.  Nice of the Phantom to have that ready for her too…he left nothing to chance…you can not fault his taste level at all.  Phantom was impeccable as always, boy could he dress!  I am re-creating that beautiful walking coat.  I was pleased with Raoul’s attire as well, very aristo.  I absolutely adored the costuming for Meg’s stage acts…simply vaudevillian chic.  Christine’s arrival red coat and hat were visually stunning.  The attention to detail on these production costumes were in every way superior to London.  Gabriela, like Maria really have the same European sensibilities, and attention to the finest details that set all their productions apart from other designers.  The costumes in LND Australia are a fitting tribute to the original Phantom designs in every way.  

    When I saw Phantom on Broadway, I wanted so badly to sneak backstage just to ogle the costumes, okay and Jeremy Stolle too.  I have that same urge for LND…I could ogle all day…the costumes, okay and Ben Lewis.  I’m married, not dead lol.  

  • Dragonz Fyre

    Just wanted to share….I am the luckiest woman alive with a most wonderful husband.  He has given me an early 23rd anniversary present I couldn’t have dreamed up in a million years!  Somehow he got great tickets to the final Sydney show of LND, and travel arrangements…OMG I am over the moon!!  I don’t want to know how, or how much it cost…lol.  I am sooooooo excited!  When he gave me the ‘package’, my chest constricted and my knees nearly buckled from shock and joy :).  He is going to be a very happy man for some time to come.  Oh if only I can ogle those costumes up close and personal…..and Ben lol!  Did I mention married not dead?? lol…

  • FionaVolpe

    Meg is not in love with the Phantom in Love Never Dies. I’m not sure where that misconception comes from. She’s looking for his approval because he can make her a star, but there is no romantic love.

    Gustave was indeed conceived after the events of Phantom. If he had been conceived, as you suggest, during ‘Music of the Night’ instead, Christine would have been noticeably pregnant by ‘Masquerade’ at the beginning of act 2, as it begins six months after the end of Act I. The circumstances could have been better explained in Love Never Dies I agree instead of leaving it to the audience as a simple fact to accept. 
    Did Christine truly love Raoul? No doubt, but keep in mind that at no point in Phantom does she say that she does. It’s open to interpretation. No one has a drinking or gambling problem ‘forced onto’ them. And while he doesn’t threaten her, he does make a bet with the Phantom with Christine as the prize (even though the Phantom made the bet to fool Raoul, knowing that Christine already agreed to perform). Is that love?I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy LND as much as most others. It seems that those with a keen attachment to Phantom and have their own strong interpretations of it have a hard time accepting the sequel. Webber never wrote LND with the intent to undo the importance and the message of Phantom’s ending. The sequel comes about because of it. It solidifies that the Phantom had earned forgiveness yet even then, his own obsession leads to the one thing he could never have being lost to him forever which makes the story, both Phantom and LND, a heartbreaking tragedy. 

    • Sally

      I don’t know who you are replying to—-not me since I “know” from “Moonless Night” that Gustave was conceived between the time she left the Phantom with Raoul and her marriage to Raoul. She get points for passion and none for fidelity.

      She doesn’t say she loves Raoul in POTO; she doesn’t say she loves the Phantom. For nearly 25 years audiences were able to interpret her actions and her feelings according to how the last few scenes were played by the actors and according to what their personal views or preferences or interpretations are. 

      Since LND, the longer it is watched (if only on DVD/Blu-ray), the more people know that the official interpretation is that she loved the Phantom more,  “All I Ask of You” becomes  pretty much a farce, and when the Phantom sings, “It’s over now, the music of the night—hey, just stay tuned. Get the DVD to see what “really” happens.

      The *character* of Raoul had a drinking problem forced upon him in LND so that, being in an unhappy marriage, Christine can be seen as justified in returning to her presumed passion for the Phantom. They didn’t want her to look like a loose woman. LND is supposed to be Grand Romance.

      You are right on the money when you say that an attachment to the original show makes it difficult, in my case, impossible, to accept the sequel. I don’t doubt that Lloyd Webber did NOT write LND with the intent of undoing the importance of the ending of POTO, but I don’t think  he really cared much, and that IS the effect LND has had for many fans. 

      You seem happy that the Phantom throws away the beginnings of redemption and reverts to the selfishness and manipulation he had in the early parts of POTO. I am not at all happy about that. That change of heart is what makes the Phantom such an appealing and sympathetic character; and although “tragedy” is too strong a word, I find it very sad that this show exists, a show  in which Christine has to choose (ONCE MORE) between two now almost equally unlikable men and is killed when one of them says one of the dumbest lines in musical theater, “We can’t all be like Christine.”

      In Phantom of the Opera, we see the Phantom losing the one thing he loves because of his obsession.  It has been a heartbreaking tragedy since its first performance. Doing  the whole thing over again adds nothing except more melodrama, a romance novel/Jerry Springer-fan fiction “Who’s the Daddy” subplot, and some beautiful music that could better have been written for any other story.