Lloyd Webber Prepping ‘Phantom' Sequel

A new Phantom of the Opera is coming to Broadway – and beyond. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber told the Times of London on Sunday that “the button is pushed” on a sequel to the world’s most successful musical.

He plans to open “Phantom: Love Never Dies” at the end of 2009, with a historic simultaneous opening in three cities – on Broadway in New York, in London’s West End, and potentially Shanghai. Such an opening would be groundbreaking.

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“I don’t think you could do this if it wasn’t the sequel to Phantom,” he told the paper. “We’ve been into the feasibility of rehearsing three companies at once and opening very fast in the three territories. The one which really interests me [in the Far East] would be China … I think to open ‘Love Never Dies’ in Shanghai would be an enormous thing.”

The follow-up to “Phantom,” which debuted in 1986 with Michael Crawford in the lead role, will take place a decade after the original, with the story set on Brooklyn’s Coney Island.

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“It was the place,” Lloyd Webber said. “Even Freud went because it was so extraordinary … people who were freaks and oddities were drawn towards it because it was a place where they could be themselves.”

And the Phantom, who perishes at the end of the original musical, will reunite with lost love Christine. The iconic roles have yet to be cast. “We are pretty clear who our Phantom is going to be - I can’t say who,” Lloyd Webber said.

“Phantom,” based on a French novel by Gaston Leroux, is the longest-running Broadway show in history and has out-grossed even “Titanic” – the most successful film of all time.

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And it has gone off-Broadway as well — most recently, Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum starred in a 2004 film adaptation.

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