Deborah Howell Reviews LOVE NEVER DIES!

April 9, 2018

Pictured above:  Multi-platinum recording artist Nicole Sherzinger poses on opening night with the cast of “Love Never Dies” at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre

The Phantom of the Opera is our modern day Romeo & Juliet; one of the most revered love stories to ever capture our imaginations and penetrate our hearts.  And happily, Andrew Lloyd Webber has given the story an enormously popular second chapter to embrace.  Lloyd Webber said he knew about five minutes into seeing its first run-through that he and the new production team had achieved something special. “I have the great joy of being able to say that I think this production is probably the finest one I could ever, ever hope for.”

Since its premiere in 2010, LOVE NEVER DIES  has thrilled devotees worldwide in London, Australia, Denmark, Japan and Germany, as well as multiple recordings including a concept album and a London cast recording. A DVD release of the Australian production has delighted fans globally, and now the North American tour brings the musical to the US for the first time and I enjoyed it thoroughly last night at The Pantages Theatre—noticing many in the audience dressed up as their favorite Phantom characters!

Directed by Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical) with new set and costume designs by Gabriela Tylesova, choreography by 2011 Astaire Awards winner Graeme Murphy, lighting design by Nick Schlieper and sound design by Mick Potter, the show is one of the few instances of a major West End musical being given a complete makeover for subsequent productions.

LOVE NEVER DIES is a dazzling new production that takes audiences on a thrilling rollercoaster ride of intrigue, obsession and romance. Audiences will seduced by the beautiful score: in turns magical and poetic, joyful and occasionally melancholic. There was much sniffing and dabbing at the eyes as the violins soared and the kettledrums boomed.  

The year is 1907.  It’s 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris Opera House, and The Phantom has escaped to a new life where he lives amongst the screaming joy rides and freak shows of Coney Island. In this new, electrically charged world, he’s finally found a place for his music to soar, but he has never stopped yearning for his one true love and musical protégée, Christine Daaé.

Now one of the world’s finest sopranos, Christine accepts an invitation to travel from Paris to New York to perform at a renowned opera house. Christine's marriage to Raoul is suffering at the hands of his drinking and gambling and they desperately need the financial rewards that America can give them. In a final bid to win back Christine’s love, The Phantom lures her, Raoul, and their young son Gustave, from Manhattan to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island - not knowing what is in store for them.

Straight from the highly successful production of LOVE NEVER DIES in Hamburg, Germany, Gardar Thor Cortes portrays the man behind the mask, ‘The Phantom,’and his lithe stage movements are an equal match to his vocal prowess. 

Meghan Picerno soars as ‘Christine Daaé and her supreme soprano defies description—it simply has to be heard live to be believed. Rounding out the cast is 12-time MAC Award winner Karen Mason as ‘Madame Giry,’ Sean Thompson as ‘Raoul,’ Mary Michael Patterson as ‘Meg Giry,’ and Casey Lyons and Jake Heston Miller sharing the role of young ‘Gustave.’ The trio of Phantom’s henchmen includes Katrina Kemp as ‘Fleck,’  Richard Koons as ‘Squelch,’and  Stephen Petrovich as ‘Gangle.’  

The spectacular sets steal the show, and you’ll never see Coney Island in your mind’s eye without remembering this vision of it. If you’re itching to find out how this love saga for the ages ends, fly to the Pantages and discover how and why Love Never Dies—playing only through April 22nd, 2018.

The performance schedule for LOVE NEVER DIES is Tuesday through Friday at 8pm, and Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm.

 LOVE NEVER DIES is recommended for ages 12 and up. (Children under 5 will not be admitted to the theatre. All patrons must have a ticket, regardless of age. Individual tickets start at $49. Prices are subject to change without notice.