World-famous composer Lord Lloyd-Webber has launched his latest musical, Love Never Dies - a sequel to the award-winning Phantom of the Opera.
Set on New York's Coney Island in 1907, 10 years after the Phantom fled Paris, it is co-written by Ben Elton and has taken more than two years to complete.
Ramin Karimloo, currently playing the Phantom in London, returns to the role opposite Broadway's Sierra Boggess. The show is set to open at London's Adelphi Theatre on 9 March, 2010. It is expected to open in New York in November next year.
Former Hollyoaks star Summer Strallen, playing Meg Giry, is among the key cast members who have already recorded the accompanying album - although it will not be available to buy until opening night because of piracy fears.
"I don't regard this as a sequel - it's a stand-alone piece," said Lord Lloyd Webber.
"For me, a great story is the catalyst - that's why I have taken so long to come up with this."
The composer first began considering the idea of a follow-up some 17 years ago, reflecting that the Phantom score left "unfinished business". In 1999, he collaborated with author Frederick Forsyth who went on to publish the novella The Phantom of Manhattan, but Lord Lloyd-Webber was unable to take it any further musically. It was his former collaborator Ben Elton who helped him find a new direction for the project, taking "two really interesting characters in a completely different context".
Previous musical sequels have largely met with a lacklustre reception, but Lord Lloyd-Webber insisted: "I'm very happy with it as a piece - and that's enough for me."
"Every fibre of passion that that man has in his body, I believe, is in this score," said leading lady Boggess, 27, who first played Christine in Las Vegas.
"It's not unlike being handed a Mozart, Puccini or Verdi," said the show's director Jack O'Brien, best known for hit London production of Hairspray.
"It's not necessarily the story you think you might hear, but I am confident the story we are telling is the right one."
Phantom of the Opera, which first opened in London in October 1986, has become the world's most lucrative musical winning more than 50 awards and playing in 149 cities.
Source - BBC News
Website for Love Never Dies
LOL LOL LOL. I think ALW has more money than bloody sense at this stage.