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Theater Thursday: 'The Phantom of the Opera' has a sequel

Welcome to Theater Thursday. This week, we will discuss "The Phantom of the Opera." While it's one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's most well-known works, today, we will focus on its criminally underrated sequel, "Love Never Dies."

Most know the tale of "The Phantom of the Opera." The show tells a story of romance, loss and mystery, and the characters become more interesting with every passing second. At the end of the show, audiences are left to wonder what became of the Phantom after the opera house burned down. 

On March 9, 2010, our questions were answered as "Love Never Dies" premiered on the West End. The musical takes place in 1907, 10 years after the events at the opera house. Big Broadway names Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo revived the roles of Christine Daaé and the Phantom. Both had played the roles on Broadway in "The Phantom of the Opera." 

Audiences are transported from the Palais Garnier to Coney Island in New York City during the sequel. The Viscount Raoul de Chagny, Daaé, and their 10-year-old son, Gustave, arrive at Coney Island for Daaé to perform. They received a mysterious invitation, which is later revealed to have been sent by the Phantom. From the time the de Changys accepted the invitation, they were doomed. 

The story is intriguing and the music from the show only amplifies the viewing experience. Webber does a phenomenal job of conveying a story through music, which can be seen in any show he composes. The lyrics follow a particular melody that makes every song cohesive, yet Webber brilliantly makes every song engaging and new. 

There are many stand-out pieces in the show. "Love Never Dies," the title track, was written by the Phantom for Daaé to perform during his show. The lyrics require a skilled vocalist, and there was no shortage of talent for the role. The soprano range required for the song requires years of training, and the many women who have played the role have just that.

"Devil Take The Hindmost," a song during the musical's climax, brings power and intensity to a bar battle between the Phantom and the Viscount de Chagny. The two are fighting over Daaé, as they are both in love with her. At the end of the song, a bet is made, and the winner gets the girl. 

"Only For You" is one of the more fun songs. It reintroduces Meg Giry, a former Palais Garnier dancer and Daaé's best friend. Giry becomes a frequent performer in the Phantom's show and portrays a bubbly and flirty singer and dancer. The song foreshadows the events at the end of the show when Giry reveals she wanted to impress the Phantom and explains that all the shows she did were only for him. 

Even with all the festivities during the show, it leaves on a tragic note. The build-up to the end was well-paced and left audiences on the edge of their seats. Though the moment is shocking and sad, the ending hints that there is still hope for the Phantom's future. 

Before the show stopped playing live performances in Australia, the musical was filmed for anyone to watch at home. "Love Never Dies" is available on Amazon Prime Video for $3.99.

It is definitely worth watching at least once, and you may find yourself surprised by the ending. Come back next time for another Theater Thursday! 


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