Love Never Dies (2012)

Monday, October 15, 2012 0 comments

     My first thought on this is how the people who love the Phantom of the Opera would take it (Love Never Dies is actually the musical spin-off sequel of the PotO, also by Andrew Lloyd Webber himself). Some people aren't really open to things like  remakes, reboots, sequels and prequels, for they believe the classics and  other great films/musical and books, should remain as it is and never to be tainted in any form or even attempt to. Me, I do give a chance to those idea, especially if it would entail novelty and creativity. And I'm really not in the position to say such things should not be done. Plus, you can't deny how great things could already be made with our ever promising technology. 

     Let me start on saying that I LOVED IT! Really! I don't care how other people think about it but I personally loved the production as a whole. But then my love for this sequel would fell into:  more in some aspects/ less in some. So let me tell you about it, and to cut things straight, the biggest fall back for me was the story itself and I guess that's why other people didn't liked it because it was at some point absurd. But if you actually think of it as a stand alone production (as what Webber said it is) and not in whatsoever way connected to the Phantom of the Opera, it's actually good but is a cliched story nowadays (The Brilliant Cliche?), though you're not expecting it coming from PotO story itself, it wouldn't wow you as well. And also as a fan, you really can't help yourself but to compare and connect and the fact that it has the same main characters does not really help. Let me tell the other things later. 

       Though the musical opened in theaters way back 2010, it is not until this year that they released a DVD version(with the revised story from the London shows) which is just the musical as presented in theaters but with different angles of course. It was shot in The Regent Theater in Melbourne. This entry is for the film version.

Details from here on. 

      So the story of the Phantom left us in 1895 where the Opera house was caught on fire. Ten years later came, set in the dreamy dark byland of Coney Island in New York City, we find Erik in his piano ("Aerie") longing for Christine as he sings "'Til I Hear You Sing".

    In the next scene,they presented Phantasma, a world of amusement owned by a so-called Mr.Y, where the performers welcome us to their world with "The Coney Island Waltz".

    And then a very familiar character comes in, Ms. Meg Giry, a chorus girl in the Opera Populaire and a friend of Christine, now the Oh La La girl in Phantasma, presents us with a vaudeville number with "Only For You".

   After the show, Meg went backstage to see her mother, Madame Giry, to ask her what she thinks of her performance and what might Mr.Y thinks about it. The so called Mr. Y is Phantom himself and apparently Meg is feeling something for him. But, Madam Giry was in a state of bitterness after seeing a newspaper article saying that Christine will be traveling to Manhattan, New York to perform in a new opera house of the impresario Oscar Hammerstein. They sang "Ten Long Years" which presents how much they have been there for the Phantom the past years and how Christine was not and even betrayed him choosing Beauty and Youth over Genius and Art.

     In a New York pier, now came the Vicomtesse Christine, Vicomte Raoul de Chagny and their 10 year old son, Gustave, who were then surrounded by journalists, fans and paparazzi. It was then that the rumors of the reason why they went to NY came up which is for the money for Raoul's debts because he had gambled all theirs in Monte Carlo.

  In their hotel room, Raoul, furious of what had happened in the pier, unloads his anger to Christine and Gustave. Christine then comforts Gustave by singing to him "Look With Your Heart".

    After which a familiar melody sprang up in Gustave's newly received toy. Christine, quite terrified of what it meant, was then surprised of what she saw, it was him!

Christine, panic-strucked, passed out.

     Then came a very emotional scene, where they talked about how she was made to believe that he was dead already, and how they longed for each other as they cherished and went back that one special night they shared years ago with the song "Beneath a Moonless Sky"

     Having no regrets with his decision of leaving Christine years ago, Phantom still persuaded Christine to come with him, make things anew. But Christine did not agree, saying that there is no "now" for them anymore, and that he should just move on and do what is right as she sings "Once Upon Another Time". 

      Still persistent, Phantom asked her to sing for him just once more and offered her a great deal of money. Christine differed but then Phantom threatened her that he will take away everyone that she ever loved. Christine, out of fright, then agreed just as long as he will let them go afterwards. 

      The next day, Christine, Raoul and Gustave, went  to Phantasma and there they came across Madame Giry and Meg and they greeted one another with "Dear Old Friend". It became known then to Raoul that Mr. Y is the Phantom, and to Meg Giry that she has been replaced as the star of the show. 

     Gustave on the other hand, enthusiastic to discover the world of Phantasma went with the trio, to meet Mr. Y, who promised him to show the mysteries, wonders and darkest sides of his world.But it wasn't only Gustave who had discovered something but as well as the Phantom as he wonder how talented Gustave was, after playing "Beautiful",considering his age and he remembers himself with him. 

   And so they went on with the circuit as "The Beauty Underneath" played, and as they break into the mysterious world of Phantasma, Gustave seemingly fearless of everything that he has seen, surely has one revelation that he wasn't prepared of - seeing what's beneath the mask.

      It was then revealed by Christine, as the Phantom confronted her, that Gustave is indeed his son and has been keeping it a secret to everyone. Upon knowing, Phantom permitted them go and asks her never to tell him the truth. Christine then promised it to him, as well as to never make his music unheard. Phantom ascertains that everything that he has will be entitled to his son. But someone isn't happy about it, Madame Giry bitter on their unrequited efforts for Phantom came out appearing as a villain and blaming the boy.

Since I could not find pictures for almost all parts of the rest of the story. I'll tell you the rest, which is the whole Act II, as fast as I can.

     Raoul regretted all the things he had and had not done for Christine singing "Why Does She Love Me". Meg Giry convinced Raoul to leave already and not make Christine sing, for she will again be possessed by the Phantom through his music and she will never ever have the chance to be noticed by him. Phantom and Raoul did a bet on who Christine will choose having the "Devil Take the Hindmost". Raoul then convinced Christine, but as soon as she was ready to go, Phantom swayed him once more. She eventually sang "Love Never Dies". 

       Raoul left, while Phantom was joyous, but not until they realized Gustave was gone. Raoul did not left with him and so the next suspect, Madame Giry. But it wasn't her, it was Meg who took the boy. They went to find Meg who was thinking of ending the boy's life, but she couldn't do it. Instead, she tries to kill herself but the Phantom stopped her and then she accidentally pulled the trigger and hit Christine. While lying in her deathbed, she told Gustave the truth about his real father as she sang to him again "Look With Your Heart" but he could not accept it and run away. Erik doesn't know what to do, was comforted by Christine with "Once Upon Another Time". Erik and Christine kissed. She died. Gustave went back with Raoul. They cried. Gustave went to Phantom who sang a reprise of "Love Never Dies", they hugged and he removed her father's mask. 

How I find the Story?
      This is in relation to PotO. 

      Well, it's really a weird story if you relate it to the PotO, and it would just make your mind more confused if you try to connect it through. I think all of us who have been a fan of PotO and have watched this did say "How is that even possible?!" There is exactly something that we didn't know about. 

       In the book (Leroux)  it was told that the Phantom died because of being heartbroken but then in the movie PotO it wasn't really put that way since in the grave of Christine we saw a red rose we all know was from the Phantom. It was also said in the grave of Christine that she died at 63, which is very incongruent with the story here in Love Never Dies. And Gustave! At first I was like, when did he actually happened? Then the explanation came in and it was said that Christine and Erik met the day before her wedding with Raoul and beneath that moonless sky Gustave happened. This is a very poetic way to say it. 

And I touched you. And I felt you. And I heard those ravishing refrains. 

The music of your pulse. The singing in your veins. 

And I held you. And I touched you. 
And embraced you. And I felt you. 

And with every breath and every sigh. 

I felt no longer scared. I felt no longer shy. 

At last our feelings bared beneath a moonless sky.

And I kissed you. And caressed you. And the world around us fell away, 
we said things in the dark, we never dared to say. 
And I caught you. And I kissed you. And I took you. And caressed you. 
With a need to urgent to deny. 
And nothing mattered then except for you and I. 
Again and then again, beneath a moonless sky.

     Meg, on the other hand, has been the Phantom of the story now, only less obsessive and mad. More over, I loved Madam Giry in PotO, why did she turned like this bitter woman? On a positive note, Christine's role as a mother impressed me, being sweet and affectionate.  But of all people, why should Christine die in the end? When Christine died, I thought NOOO! and funny thing, Phantom did as well, after which hmmm "Love never dies, just Christine" (moved on very fast?! haha). But it was nice that in the ending they did a reprise of all the great songs of the entire show, at least before she died everything was settled. Such a sad scene but romantic as well. Just a thought/idea, Raoul should have died, in a way that he just protected or saved Christine's life, so that Phantom and Christine could finally be happy, but then it would just add up to all the cliche in the story. Never mind me.


     This musical sequel is made specially for Christine-Erik fans, like me. And I guess would be very disappointing for those who loved Raoul for Christine. I mean that because in the Phantom of the Opera, it's not really that obvious that Christine was really in love with Erik (unless you think of it, like me who thinks of it as a disguised love), but here in Love Never Dies, it was as if she has really longed for him and that she really love him after all. And Raoul here has become the guy that we never thought he would be. 

   I can see that Filipinos (or just me) would be able to relate to the story of this because this is story very familiar with us, since it has been the done in our movies and teleseryes. 


     There are familiar melodies coming from PotO, that it will somehow rekindle your heart with your love of PotO songs. But definitely there are new songs that will as well excite or perk you up so much with love. 

My favorite songs are:

Look With Your Heart (really sweet song to sing for her son, and I cried when Christine sang this as she lays in her deathbed. I think everybody could relate to this one if you would not take it literally for Phantom alone)

"So look with your heart, and not with your eyes

A heart understands, a heart never lies

Believe what it feels, and trust what it shows

Look with your heart, the heart always knows"

Beneath a Moonless Sky (sad sad song of remembering that night, this was a very emotional song and scene that you could feel the rush of it) 

And I loved you, yes I loved you. I'd have followed any where you led. 
I woke to swear my love, and found you gone instead.
And I loved you, and I loved you, and I left you. 
Yes I loved you, and I had to, both of us knew why."

It was then followed by also a great song Once Upon Another Time (This is a perfect song for those who have sorrows and hardships in life and actually don't know what to do with their lives upon separations, break-ups and what not). 

"We love, we live, we give what we can give and take what little we deserve"

And of course Love Never Dies (Very romantic and grand as love is, something I would want to hear in my wedding as I walk down the aisle crying with joy. I super love this song!). And instead of making things difficult for me for trying to choose a favorite verse, I'd rather let you hear and see this for yourself.

    Shivering music all of them. I love the melody of these songs and their lyrics as well. The songs were really catchy that I found myself humming and singing the parts of it, that I still could remember after I watched it. I also liked the two vaudeville shows for it was really fun to watch especially Bathing Beauty which reminded me of Burlesque. The Beauty Underneath was nice as well as if I was in this rock concert in a circus- Phantom the Rock Star. The gentlemen's songs ('Til I Hear You Sing and Why Does She Love Me) were good too but I did not connected to it as much as the others. 

     The audio cd have a lot more songs including a prologue, since it is the original recording and a lot did change from the movie version if you would listen to it. It's nice to have watched the musical first before you listen to this because you could actually imagine the events as you close your yes. Anyway, is it just me or it is actually Angelina Jolie's face that  I see in this mask?

Stage Design,Effects,Props,and Costumes

    The amusement park was just amazing. I've always wanted to be in an actual circus and vaudeville. I really love their idea of having the set in an amusement park because of its entertainment, magic, trickery, and darkness in the side. The performers' costumes, the lights, the carousel, the roller coaster, the pyramidal crystal like enclosures of freaks (I super loved that idea!), the peacock feather background, everything was really nice and awing. A lot of stage effects and mechanism shown here was also done in PotO, but still this is a different world compare to the setting of PotO. And I just want to say that it gave me the creeps after noticing the painting of Christine in the prologue moved like in Harry Potter, does that even happen in the actual performance?


TRIO: Squelch (Paul Tabone), Fleck (Emma J Hawkins), Doctor Gangle (Dean Vince)
        I love these three! How effortlessly they would introduce the performance with their gestures and light stunts. I also loved their part in "The Beauty Underneath".

GUSTAVE (Jack Lyall)

        Oh that adorable little kid, he's filled with so much cuteness. Above that, he is so talented, no doubt, I can't believe that voice came from him. And his eyes and smile, innocent yet curios, sweet and lovely, as a child.  

MADAME GIRY (Maria Mercedes)
      Very villian-y she is, and indeed was really great in her role, as great as that part of her singing "If that Bastard had never been born!" Loved that part!

MEG GIRY (Sharon Millerchip)
     I thought that she was quite old for the role of Meg, but with her age she was still able to deliver the role smoothly. Her dance numbers were amazing. Also, I felt sorry for her every time she longs for the attention of Phantom (her expressions were trailing with emotions) and still at the end was unsuccessful. 

        See a familiar face in Meg's side? It's Claire Lyon, one of the show girls. She actually have played the part of Christine here in Love Never Dies (Australia) before landing the role of the younger Christine in The Phantom of the Opera

RAOUL (Simon Gleeson)
        He looks like a real father. Anyway, I didn't like her at first because he was mean and boastful at the start (effective acting?), but after he sang "Why Does She Love Me", I find his voice really sweet and his regrets, emotions towards losing Christine were unbearable to watch.

PHANTOM (Ben Lewis)
     Who wouldn't notice this? - His eyes was crazy scary plus the way his mouth would open and react along with it! He's the scariest Phantom among those that I know, really! I love his voice! His diction while singing was really Phantom-y, with his big voice. (I love his coat in this picture!)

CHRISTINE (Anna O'Byrne)

        The first time I saw her in the movie, from the pier with all the mist. My first comment was that she really looks like those leading lady in classic films. She's so beautiful and her skin was white as snow. I guess all who plays Christine are beautiful women. 

     I love her portrayal of the role of a mother was really excellent, and her scenes with Jack were lovely to watch. Her voice and expressions were just surreal (I'm loving theatrical acting because of them two-Claire Lyon. They're like Disney princesses). I love watching her! 


      I've said it at the start that I loved it! Whatever this musical story's downfall was, it was able to recover on the music and design, that it somehow fits perfectly. For those who's still in doubt with this musical, I suggest you give LND a chance with an open mind and heart. 

A work of love, art and passion, is what this is. 
Hats off to Andrew Lloyd Webber, Glenn Slater and John Hart and to those who have made this musical possible!

Love Never Dies in Manila Idea

     Love Never Dies, please come to the Philippines! I can really imagine it already and Resorts World Manila is the first thing that came into my mind after seeing the revolving stage in the movie and with its LED screen, I'm pretty sure a lot could be done with it having the extravagant set of this musical. 

      Even though I have watched this musical (in film) a couple of times, I know that there is still nothing like watching it live plus seeing all the scenes they might have removed in this movie version of it. Hopefully in the future I would be able to make a post regarding the musical itself, in theater! 

See my post regarding my PotO experience in Manila.

Credits for the photos used: Actual production pictures.
John TsiavisJeff Busby (those with footnotes), dechagny.tumblr (screenshots)


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