I went to see a recording of Love Never Dies at the movie theatre recently, which was awesome because I didn’t even know that was an option. If you have a Cineplex anywhere near you, you should check out the event page on their website. It’s not as good as going to a live performance, but it’s cheaper and better than watching it on youtube.
Love Never Dies is the canon (or official) sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. Confession time: I’ve never seen a theatre production of The Phantom of the Opera. I have, however, seen the movie, and I loved it. You can watch LND without seeing the theatre production of POTO, but I would recommend seeing at least one version of it before hand. There were a few things that didn’t match up with the movie version in my mind (not sure if they matched up with the theatre version), but I was still able to follow along because any information that might have been missed was integrated into the musical itself. But…let’s just say it’s a little bit awkward if watching with parents…
The story takes place ten years after POTO. Christine and Raoul, with their son Gustave, are coming to America so that Christine can perform for the first time in years in order to pay off Raoul’s gambling and drinking debts. There they find some old friends, including Meg and her mother who smuggled the Phantom out of France to Coney Island where he started his own theatre…or something. And then ten years worth of longing and anger hit the fan.
The plot itself was alright. I feel like more could have been done with it, but then it is a musical and it’s hard to get EVERYTHING across in such a limited area and time. What was actually disappointing was the music. Not that it was BAD, but it wasn’t to the same level of catchiness as the songs from POTO. I mean, I will still find myself humming “Angel of Music” randomly, but as much as “Beneath a Moonless Night” made me feel things I never expected to feel (namely, shipping love for Phantom/Christine), it won’t be making it’s way into my shower song arsenal.
The acting and singing themselves were fantastic. Ben Lewis as the Phantom had me sobbing and my chest doing that weird contracting thing it does whenever I listen to a really gorgeous singer. A couple times I felt like his voice went a little…boy band, if that makes sense. Like, he sounded a bit too young for what was supposed to be a man in his, like, fifties, but still gorgeous. Gustave’s actor had a hauntingly beautiful voice. His acting left something to be desired sometimes, but the kid is young and he was more than amazing for his age.
Raoul and Christine’s actors were also great, though I was upset by how both of these characters were written. Raoul became a drunk and gambler, which I guess was common for the aristocracy in France at the time…but still. There was no sign of that in POTO, so I didn’t like that it came out of no where. Christine was portrayed as wishy-washy and some sort of male prize. Guess I shouldn’t have been all that surprised, but I thought ten years might have given her a backbone.
My absolute favourite aspect of the production were the throwbacks to the original. Sometimes you’d here snatches of “Angel of Music.” At one point, Christine has a kind of sound-only flashback, and we get to hear a short scene before she had to perform to try to catch the Phantom in POTO. It made me feel that the two musical were actually connected and that they characters were the same people.
Overall, Love Never Dies is not The Phantom of the Opera, but it’s worth the watch by any Phantom of the Opera fan.