Love Never Dies: The Changes

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The Phantom Sequel Gets a Makeover

After being open less than nine months, Love Never Dies, the stage sequel to the hit musical The Phantom of the Opera, has been given a revamp. The production opened in London's West End in March 2010 to mixed reviews and a barrage of complaints from die-hard "Phans" of the original show. Criticisms ranged from the banality of Glenn Slater's lyrics to the improbable plot turns and character twists of Ben Elton's story and book.

To rescue the show, impresario and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber shut down performances for three weeks in November so the cast could rehearse a new version, with major changes that have converted at least one critic.

Love Never Dies: What Did They Change?

The opening of the show is the first major alteration. The first version, which you can hear on the original cast recording, opened in a fairly subdued manner with Madame Giry lamenting what had become of the Phantom's Coney Island paradise, Phantasma. Now it opens with the the Phantom's song Till I Hear You Sing -- the big showstopper that originally occurred well into the play.

There are changes to lyrics scattered throughout the show, which is hardly surprising, since some of the original lyrics were embarrassingly trite. Word has it there's a lot more touching in the Phantom and Christine's big duet, Beneath a Moonless Sky.

There's also been a major character name change. The Phantom was going by the pseudonym "Mr Y," but this has been altered to "Mr H" in the revamped version. The thinking behind the change is that Christine assumed she was being invited to New York by the impresario Oscar Hammerstein (not to be confused with his grandson Oscar Hammerstein, of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame).

Love Never Dies: The New Ending (Spoilers)

(Stop reading now if you don't want to know the ending.) The most important and most talked-about change is at the end of the show. The original ending had Christine dying in Meg's arms after Meg, in the midst of a mental breakdown after kidnapping Gustave, accidentally shot her. Raoul had already fled New York for Paris.

In the new version, the Phantom cradles Christine's body. Raoul returns and sits with the dying Christine while Gustave embraces his real father, the Phantom. No longer is the Phantom unmasked (though I believe he is at an earlier point in the show).

What Hasn't Changed (More Spoilers)

What hasn't changed is the basic storyline. And this is what most Phans were upset about. In Ben Elton's plot, it transpires the Phantom and Christine shared a night of romantic passion before he escaped to New York. Ten years later, Christine is still married to Raoul, and they have a 10-year old son, Gustave, who turns out to be fathered by the Phantom. Raoul is a bitter and washed-up alcoholic, and Christine eventually chooses to leave him to be with the Phantom.

The revelation of Christine and the Phantom's relationship and Raoul's sudden descent into drunkenness were viewed by Phans, such as the founders of Love Should Die, as a betrayal of both the Gaston Leroux novel and Lloyd Webber's original show.

I've not seen the show, but I admit I loved the album. Not for the lyrics, which ranged from adequate to bad, but for Lloyd Webber's music. He still has what it takes to write a hit musical. By all accounts the score is intact, and while Love Never Dies will never reach the heights of The Phantom of the Opera, I think the music will save the show for a few years yet.

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Comments 7 comments

Robbie Lammas 5 years ago

Love Never Dies Review:

I have been to see the show very recently. I was not aware of the orgional version so I saw the changes with a fresh mind. It is funny they changed the opening to Phantom's big number as I commented in the interval that it seemed a bit out of place as in it was not originally there. I even suggested it would have been better to start with a description of Coney Island (as it originally did), now of which proceeds after. However, the sheer power of the song really hits home. I would have liked a bit more hype before Phantom enters however. A simple few notes and he appears seemed not to do what is Mr West End justice.

What was exceptional despite the failures was the quality of the lead vocals. Both Phantom and Christine were so crisp and clear, so moving and emotive. Christine's number, the title song - Love Never Dies was memorising as was Phantom's opening number as aforementioned.

By far the greatest thing about the show I found as you also commented was the true quality of Lloyd Webber's score. Performed by what I am happy to say is the greatest orchestra I have ever heard, it is worth going to see the show just for the joy of hearing his magnificent music. One thing I would say however is that the tributes to the original were not placed best for their effect. Subtle reminders of Angel of Music when Phantom sees Christine again was nice, however the quick subtle hammer of the main theme was completely miss placed; it was not significant and as that was the only salute to probably the greatest show theme of all time it was disappointing.

The sheer quality of the music Highlights the greatest problem - the lyrics. Even though many have been changed (as suggested in the review), compared to Phantom of the Opera, it does not even remotely compare. Far to simplistic in places, elegant in a couple of songs, but then truly awful in others, the lyrists really let Webber's glorious music down. At some stages they were so simplistic and repetitive you would have though you were viewing Joseph instead!

What I suggest strongly is that the show should eventually move to a theatre more suited to the theme of Phantom. The Adelphi Theatre is too modern and not decorative enough. Her Majesty's Theatre is very suited to Phantom, it's a shame that all that decorates the Adelphi are simple red and yellow bulbs - a far cry from the memorable chandler.

The ending of the show is most certainly emotive and although it angers me as I would have like to finally see Mr AND Mrs Phantom, very appropriate. Reading about the original ending it seems far superior. The only thing I would have added is that right at the end when Phantom is angered by the death of Christine he reprises the original main theme and then when he embraces his song it fades to a calm reprise of the new main theme - Love Never Dies. But that's just me. 

Finally I must comment on the set. It seemed to me as the person who was in charge of staging got bought a mac for Christmas. The reliance on projections on screens was over evident, and when they were taken down the stage looked bare and under-done. Phantom cleverly used cretins and huge sets as well as award winning costumes. Although the extravagance was necessary for the Opera House and not so much for Coney Island, at times it did feel a bit like a Shakespeare production.

Overall the quality of the (revised) story, the music and the lead roles more than makes it a fantastic show fitting for the West End by no shadow of a doubt, but more amendments are going to have to be made to ensure the shows continuing success. What can one expect though when comparing any new show to possibly the greatest musical of all time - Phantom of the Opera?


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Rattigan 5 years ago from St Catharines, Ontario Author

Thanks for the review. Enjoyed reading your thoughts. Haven't seen the show yet myself, but hope to.


Tonicha Childs 5 years ago

I went to see Love Never Dies in August 2010 and i have to say it was the most amazing thing i have ever seen, Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo played the Phantom and Christine beautifully, the set was a little blank at times especially whilst the performance of 'Dear Old Friend' and 'Love Never Dies'.

I would have liked Lloyd Webber to have repeated some of the melodies from Phantom Of The Opera, Christine does sing a few words from 'Twisted Everyway', in my opinion this wasn't enough, a reprise of 'Angel Of Music' or maybe 'Point Of No Return' would have been good as i feel these fit with the mood of the sequel.

After leaving the Adelphi Theatre were i saw Love Never Dies,i was feeling very depressed for a while after because although i already knew the ending as i had looked it up on the internet beforehand.

The ending wasn't what i expected when i read an article talking about the ending, Christine shouldn't have died, although the melodies are the best i've heard from a musical so far, the storyline was a bit over the top and far fetched for a West End musical that was supposed to be a sequel to the GREATEST LOVE STORY OF ALL TIME!!!

However i don't think Lloyd Webber is right to change the story because the original kind of makes the show, it makes you think of how it could have ended and i feel that that is a good thing.

I have written my own musical and watching Love Never Dies and listening to people's own idea's about how Love Never Dies should've ended it's given me lots of ideas about my own project that i am working on at the minute.

Overall amazing acting and singing from the original cast, Sierra and Ramin are supposedly leaving so i wish them all the best in their upcoming work!

Thanks xox


Jarne Willems 5 years ago

Seen the original version, it was super, it don't need no changes!!!I would love to see the production in Australia, with all the new changes.


Anna 4 years ago

Exucuse me if my English isn't perfect. It's not my native tangue. I saw LND when i was in London last year. Not sure which version the revised or the original one. Anyhow i absolutely loved this production. Maybe the set was not as lavishing as in Australia but it didn't matter at all because music and plot really impressed. I even bought a CD and often hammer some melodies from there.

LND-haters consider the sequal being illogical, irrational. i can't see their point at all.

1) LND doesn't spoil the impression from the book. Even if hard phans try to build a single Phantom Universe in their heads, it's impossible. The POTO was based on the book and borrows SOMETHING from its initial atmosphere but all the characters are far-fetched: Phantom is more appealing and hot, Christine more intelligent and broad-minded, Raoul not at all a brat but a perfect man. However nobody notices it because the romance of the musicle is wonderful. So we can say that POTO is unlike the book so LND can be based on nothing but the plot and characters of the first musicle.

2) So. Main complaints. First part has an open end while the second part ruins all the mystery. the second part has the same open end as we don't know anything about future relations between Phantom, Miss Giry and Gustave. i cann't even imagine how they would live together.

3) Erik's character turned from a revenjeful assasin into quite a normal person. ok, he was mad because nobody loved him and not because he was a bad person. Christine cured him from his hatred when coming to him before his escape to America. also he could get tired of spilling blood. by the way 'ashamed of what i was ashamed to see your eyes' phrase makes Phantom's decision to leave Chrisine rather rational and shows that he felt guilty for his dark assasin nature.

4) Raoul becomes a drunker. It's a probable end. just in my opinion. Why a passionate person from a noble family can't end like this? Especialy at the verge of the centuries. And everything is ok with Meg's change. She could become like this.

5) Another complaint was that Erik and Christine shouldn't be together. Ok they didn't despite the fact that Christine decided to stay with him. You cann't base your happiness on the other people's toil and tears.

I understood LLoyd Webber's message oand everyone should admit that musicles exist not only to be spectacular but also touch hearts. This musicle is certainly one of such musicles.


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iholland95 4 years ago from USA

I went to see this show in London this summer and some of the lyrics had been changed and it really upset me. I guess I was so used to listening to the soundtrack that I kind of got used to those lyrics which I actually like much better than the new ones.


Rosie and Jackie 4 years ago

J: I went to see the original version on London west end. It was incredible, it blew me away with the music and the lyrics. I am very disappointed in the lyric change, although I do like the new ending.

R: I have not seen the west end version although I have seen the Australian one on DVD. I am a massive Phantom phan, and loved Love never dies almost as much as the first. When they first thought of making love never dies, did they honestly think it was going to be bigger then Phantom? Of course it wasn't going to be as good! Although saying that, they did a brilliant job of the storyline, which I personally think is wonderful. I listen to the original cd, with the original music from love never dies before the changes almost everyday. I personally think the lyric changes were a massive mistake. I do not like the new 'till I hear you sing lyrics as I can't bear to listen to the new version as the old one took my breath away every time I listened to it, but saying that I don't mind the song now being at the beginning. I love the ending although the ring phantom gave Christine in the first one should have returned somehow. Overall I love the music to bits and even though I watch the Australian version, from what i have heard about the original, I think the original one sounds far better. I love meg's character. And from the cd and the DVD, I can not fault the actors.

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