Andrew Lloyd Webber spoke via satellite today to a large contingent of arts media at Queen’s Hall in Parliament House to announce the Australian premiere of Love Never Dies. Ray Martin introduced Lord Lloyd Webber, as well as Minister for the Arts Tim Holding and Producer Tim McFarlane.
Following hot on the heels of the incredible critical acclaim for the Australian production of Hairspray it seems more appropriate than ever that the new production of Love Never Dies will be created entirely by Australians.
Andrew Lloyd Webber spoke with pride of the success of Jesus Christ Superstar after its original Australian production, which set it up as a hit to return to London. Another memorable original staging was Gale Edward’s mid 1990s season of Aspects of Love at the Comedy Theatre, featuring a young Amanda Harrison as Jenny.
Auditions for Love Never Dies commence in two weeks time on 25 October. Lord Webber will travel to Australia in January for the end of auditions and will then return in April in the lead up to the May opening night. Casting is completely open at this stage with the production team having no preconceived ideas as to who they will cast. An exciting prospect for the Australian cast is that they, along any or all elements of the production, could continue on to Broadway, or London or South East Asia, with the show.
Many may have heard rumours of the show’s imminent announcement, but of particular interest today was the news of the production team. Outgoing MTC Artistic Director Simon Phillips will helm the staging, with Sydney’s Gabriela Tylesova as Costume and Set Designer. As well directing a slew of musicals for MTC, Phillips directed the international stage hit Priscilla – Queen of the Desert. Tylesova recently won a Helpmann Award for her avante garde designs for Opera Australia’s Cosi fan Tutte.
Just as exciting is the news that Graham Murphy will be on board as Choreographer. Murphy will also stage the Australian Ballet’s eagerly anticipated new production of Romeo and Juliet next year.
The sequel to the monster hit The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies continues the story of all five principal characters ten years after the original. Christine Daae, now an international singing star, travels to New York’s Coney Island with her husband Raoul at the request of a mysterious producer. On Coney Island she reunites with former best friend Meg Giry and her forbidding mother. Christine now has a son, who is ten years old…
Possibly Lord Lloyd Webber’s most ambitious score to date, Love Never Dies is full of soaring ballads and duets along with catchy music of the period. Musical Supervisor for the Australian premiere will be Guy Simpson, who was not only involved with the 1990 Australian premiere of Phantom of the Opera but has also conducted the show in Auckland, Cape Town, Pretoria, Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong, Brazil Seoul.
With the challenges of the London premiere well documented and the Broadway opening now indeterminately delayed, massive international attention will fall on the Australian production. Regular theatregoers of Melbourne will know without a doubt that we are more than up to the challenge of producing a world class success story.