June 17, 2011
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Andrew Lloyd Webber show to shutter
"Love Never Dies," Andrew Lloyd Webber's much-hyped sequel to the record-breaking "The Phantom of the Opera," has failed to live up to its title: The London show will shutter Aug. 27 after just 18 months.
Following its March 2010 opening at the 1,469-seat Adelphi theater, most reviews for the long-gestated tuner were negative, and initial marketing campaigns that downplayed the show's status as a sequel were reversed to point to its predecessor in order to boost sales. The show also suffered from the widely circulated moniker, "Paint Never Dries," coined by a web review.
Unsatisfied with the production, Lloyd Webber sought to rework the show, which had been helmed by Jack O'Brien, designed by Bob Crowley and lit by Paule Constable.
The show was closed for four nights to re-order and restructure the material, with additional lyrics by Charles Hart, under the uncredited hand of producer Bill Kenwright. But despite a few more positive reviews, the show failed to take off at the box office. Nominated for seven Olivier awards, it walked away empty-handed.
A separate incarnation of the show opened in Melbourne, Australia on May 28, helmed by Simon Phillips, to a far more positive press.
Commenting on the history of the show up to that point, Lloyd Webber blamed the failure of the London run on the diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer, which he underwent prior to rehearsals. Regarding Phillips' new version, he said, "There is no question that this production cannot be improved upon. 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."
A planned Gotham transfer of the London production failed to materialize. There has been no statement from Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group to confirm or deny if the Australian incarnation will travel.