June 18, 2011
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Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies draws its last breath
It was the musical sequel that had a lot to live up to, following the long-standing success and fame of its predecessor.
But shortly over a year since Andrew Lloyd Webber’s follow-up to The Phantom of the Opera opened at the Adelphi Theatre, Love Never Dies will see its final curtain fall at the end of August.
The announcement by Lord Lloyd-Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Group follows a mixed critical reaction to the first musical sequel ever to open in London's West End and a recent admission by the 63-year-old that he was “not on the case” when the show first opened in March 2010. The production provoked a series of negative reviews, with one critic labelling it “Paint Never Dries”.
Lord Lloyd-Webber’s show was rewritten and opened again in November 2010 with a clearer narrative. The updated version was given a warmer reception than the original and was largely seen as an improvement.
However, despite being nominated for seven Olivier awards, the £5.5m production has been unable to shake off the stigma of its troubled opening and will be replaced at the Adelphi Theatre by a comedy, One Man, Two Guvnors.
By contrast, The Phantom of the Opera is now in its 25th year, having originally opened in October 1986.
Earlier this month Lord Lloyd-Webber revealed in an interview that illness prevented him from properly overseeing the initial opening of Love Never Dies. The writer and producer admitted that the first run should have been postponed until he was well enough to put his full efforts into the show.
He underwent treatment after being diagnosed with cancer five months before the sequel’s debut, making a full recovery by January 2010.
Lord Lloyd-Webber, whose successes include Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, said: “I had a unique issue because I got cancer in the middle of all of it. With hindsight we should have said, ‘Let’s put the whole thing on hold until I’m 100 per cent again.’ Frankly, I wasn’t feeling very well.”
A fresh production of the musical opened last month in Australia to more positive reviews and this is expected to be taken to Broadway.
Lord Lloyd-Webber claimed that the Australian version of the show “cannot be improved upon".
He said: “It is fabulous to look at and they completely understand what I’m trying to get at with the score. It has a momentum that is wonderful.”
Following the closure of Love Never Dies on August 27, One Man, Two Guvnors, written by Richard Bean, will transfer from the National Theatre in November.