Review by Lauryn Angel
Love Never Dies is a sequel to Andew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera that picks up the story ten years after the events in the Paris opera house. The Phantom (Bronson Norris Murphy) has taken up residence on Coney Island, with Madame Giry (Karen Mason) and her daughter Meg (Mary Michael Patterson). The Phantom runs a side-show on the boardwalk, with Meg as its star. News of Christine Daaé (Meghan Picerno) travelling to Manhattan to star in a show for Oscar Hammerstein throws everything into turmoil for the Phantom and the Girys. But Christine is not alone; she travels with Raoul (Sean Thompson), who is now her husband, and their son, Gustave (Jake Heston Miller).
The sets and the costumes for this production are beautiful – particularly for Christine Daaé’s Coney Island performance of the title song. The performers are spectacular, most notably Megan Picerno as Christine and Karen Mason as Madame Giry. The problem with this musical is really the writing. The story is over-the-top melodrama, with plot “twists” that are obvious long before they are revealed. Additionally, the plot is drawn out too long, with too much music, even for an opera.
Worse yet, it’s difficult to feel sympathy for some of these characters. Raoul is the best example of this, as his undying love for Christine seems to have curdled to the point that he barely tolerates her, and Gustave seems more of an annoyance than a beloved child. Yet in Act II, we are expected to believe that the idea of losing his wife will destroy him? The characterization just doesn’t work, despite Thompson’s admirable effort to make the character sympathetic.
If you’ve been dying to know what happened to the Phantom and Christine after the destruction of the opera house, Love Never Dies is worth viewing for the answers to those questions. The musical runs through August 5 at Fair Park Music Hall, then heads to Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth August 7-12.