Set a decade after the events of The Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel musical Love Never Dies takes us far from the walls of the Paris Opera House to the freak shows of Coney Island.
The national tour with Meghan Picerno as Christine Daae, Bronson Norris Murphy as The Phantom, and Sean Thompson as Raoul begins ten years after Phantom ends as Christine and Raoul make their way to New York with their son Gustave so Christine can sing. However, their plans change when the Phantom, who they thought was dead, comes back into their lives along with their old friends Madame Giry (Karen Mason) and Meg (Mary Michael Patterson).
As a fan of the original musical, I was really curious to see what the characters would be up to since it ended and I was not disappointed. Meghan Picerno as Christine is an absolute delight. Christine still possesses the innocence that she has in Phantom, but you can tell she has grown up a bit. Bronson Norris Murphy has all of the vocal and physical mannerisms of the Phantom down. Phantom has changed after falling in love with Christine but at the end he still resorts to the same tricks to try and win her love. Sean Thompson gives an unforgettable performance as Raoul. Raoul is still the good guy, but finds downfall as he is not quite accustomed to the real world.
Interestingly enough, it is Meg who has the most intense story. She is a celebrated performer at "Phantasma" after she and her mother helped the Phantom is his escape to New York. Meg spends a great deal of the show making personal sacrifices, in the hopes that the Phantom will take her under his wing, but it all seems in vain as she is quite unhinged by the end of the show. Mary Michael Patterson was absolutely made for this part and plays it with a haunting beauty.
The production is visually stunning. The sets are colorful and all of them are reminiscent of the lively circus atmosphere on Coney Island. The music is haunting, and many melodies from The Phantom of the Opera are used in a way that keen listeners will quickly spot out, though it will fly under the radar for those not as familiar with the score of Phantom.
While there are a few plot holes that don't add up with Phantom, the show is absolutely worth seeing if you are a fan of the original. It is currently playing at Peace Center in Greenville, SC where it will run through June 17th before moving onto Nashville. Click here to visit their website and find out all tour dates!