This Week on Stage: 'Phantom' sequel 'Love Never Dies' fails to haunt

Image credit: Catherine Ashmore

This week saw the London opening of Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s eagerly awaited sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. EW’s Mark Shenton described the show as “frequently clunky and clumsy,” with a score “that seems like a rehashed parade of pastiche and throbbing crashing-chord melodies.” (He gives it a C.) Back in New York City, a new musical by John Kander and Frank Ebb (the renowned composer and lyricist of classics such as Chicago and Cabaret) opened Off Broadway: The Scottsboro Boys depicts the true story of nine African Americans falsely convicted of raping two white women. I wrote that despite its “memorably melodic score,” the grade-B show “never manages to make its nominal heroes stand out as individuals.” Tanner Stransky gave a B- to the tangled family drama When the Rain Stops Falling, playing Off Broadway at Lincoln Center Theatre.

Happily, one new show earned an unequivocal rave: Melissa Rose Bernardo gave an A- to Next Fall, a drama that opened on Broadway this week after a successful Off Broadway run last year. Geoffrey Nauffts’ “quietly daring” first play deals with hot-button issues like homosexuality, religion, divorce, drugs, and bigotry, but Bernardo writes, “Faith, in its various permutations, becomes almost another character in the play.”

If you’re looking for some live theater, check out the EW.com Stage hub for up-to-date news and reviews; or consult this handy guide below, which includes links to all of our stage reviews of current shows. (Note: The reviews are typically of the show’s original casts.)

BROADWAY

The Addams Family — Musical; opens 4/8/2010

All About Me —– Musical Revue starring Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein; opens 3/18/10

American Idiot — Musical; opens 4/20/2010

A Behanding in Spokane — Comedy starring Christopher Walken; opened 3/4/10; EW grade: B+

Billy Elliot — Musical; opened 11/13/08; EW grade: B+

La Cage Aux Folles — Musical Revival starring Kelsey Grammer; opens 4/18/10

Chicago — Musical Revival; opened 11/14/1996; EW grade: A+

Collected Stories – Drama Revival starring Linda Lavin; opens 4/28/10

Come Fly Away — Musical created, choreographed, and directed by Twyla Tharp; opens 3/25/10

ENRON — Drama starring Norbert Leo Butz; opens 4/27/10

Fela! – Musical; opened 11/23/2009; EW grade: B+

Fences — Drama Revival starring Denzel Washington; opens 4/26/10 – 7/11/10

God of Carnage — Comedy starring Jeff Daniels and Lucy Liu; opened 3/22/2009; EW grade: A-

Hair — Musical Revival; opened 3/31/2009; EW grade: A-

In the Heights — Musical starring Corbin Bleu; opened 2/14/2009; EW grade: B+

Jersey Boys — Musical; opened 11/7/2005; EW grade: A

Lend Me a Tenor – Comedy Revival starring Anthony LaPaglia, Tony Shalhoub, and Justin Bartha; opens 4/4/10

The Lion King — Musical; opened 11/13/1997; EW grade: A+

Lips Together, Teeth Apart – Drama Revival starring Megan Mullally and Patton Oswalt; opens 4/29/10 – 6/20/10

A Little Night Music — Musical Revival starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury; opened 12/13/09; EW grade: B+

Looped — Drama starring Valerie Harper as Tallulah Bankhead; opens 3/14/10

Love Never Dies — Musical sequel to Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber; opens 11/11/10

Mamma Mia! — Musical; opened 10/18/2001; EW grade: B+

Mary Poppins — Musical; opened 11/16/2009; EW grade: A-

Memphis — Musical; opened 10/19/2009; EW grade: C+

Million Dollar Quartet — Musical; opens 4/11/10

The Miracle Worker — Drama Revival starring Abigail Breslin; opened 3/3/10; EW grade: B-

Next Fall – Drama; opened 3/11/10; EW grade: A-

Next to Normal — Musical; opened 4/19/2009; EW grade: A

The Phantom of the Opera — Musical; opened 1/26/1988

Present Laughter — Comedy Revival starring Victor Garber; opened 1/21/2010 – 3/21/10; EW grade: B-

Promises, Promises — Musical Revival starring Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth; opens 4/25/10

Race — Drama starring James Spader and Kerry Washington; opened 12/6/2009; EW grade: C

Red – Drama starring Alfred Molina; opens 4/1/10 – 6/13/10

Rock of Ages — Musical; opened 4/7/2009; EW grade: C+

Sondheim on Sondheim — Musical Revue; opens 4/22/10 – 6/13/10

South Pacific — Musical Revival; opened 4/3/2008; EW grade: A

Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark — Musical starring Alan Cumming; opens 2010

Time Stands Still — Drama starring Laura Linney; opened 1/28/2010 – 3/27/10; EW grade: A–

A View From the Bridge Drama Revival starring Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson; opened 1/24/2010 - 4/4/2010; EW grade: B+

West Side Story — Musical Revival; opened 3/19/2009; EW grade: B

Wicked — Musical; opened 10/30/03; EW grade: B

OFF BROADWAY

Ages of the Moon – Drama starring Stephen Rea; opened 1/27/10 – 3/21/10; EW grade: B–

A Lie of the Mind — Drama directed by Ethan Hawke and starring Keith Carradine and Laurie Metcalf; opened 2/18/10 –- 3/20/10; EW grade: A–

Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps – Comedy; reopens 3/25/10; EW grade: B+

As You Like It — Comedy; opened 1/26/10 – 3/13/10; EW grade: B–

Avenue Q — Musical; reopened 10/21/2009; EW grade: A

Blue Man Group — Special Performance; opened 11/11/1991

Clybourne Park — Drama; 2/21/10 – 3/21/10; EW grade: A

EquivocationDrama; opens 3/2/10 – 3/28/10; EW grade: C+

The Fantasticks — Musical Revival; opened 6/16/2008; EW grade: B+

A Lie of the MindDrama Revival starring Keith Carradine and Laurie Metcalf; opened 2/18/10 – 3/20/10; EW grade: A-

Love, Loss, and What I Wore — Drama; opened 10/1/2009; EW grade: B+

Mr. & Mrs. Fitch – Comedy starring John Lithgow and Jennifer Ehle; opened 2/22/10 – 3/21/10; EW grade: B+

The Orphans’ Home Cycle, Part I — Drama; opened 11/20/2009 – 5/8/10; EW grade: A-

The Orphan’s Home Cycle, Part II Drama; opened 12/17/09 – 5/8/10; EW grade: B+

The Orphan’s Home Cycle, Part III — Drama; opens 1/26/10 – 5/8/10; EW grade: A

Our Town — Drama Revival; opened 2/26/2009 – 3/14/10; EW grade: A-

The Pride – Drama starring Hugh Dancy and Ben Whishaw; opens 2/16/10 – 3/20/10; EW grade: B

The Scottsboro Boys Musical starring John Cullum; opened 3/10/10 – 4/18/10; EW grade: B

Stomp — Special Performance; opened 2/27/1994

The Tempest – Drama revival starring Stephen Dillane; opened 2/25/10 – 3/14/10; EW grade: A-

When the Rain Stops Falling — Drama starring Victoria Clark and Mary Beth Hurt; opened 3/8/10; EW grade: B-

ELSEWHERE

The 101 Dalmatians Musical (National tour) — Musical; EW grade: B-

August: Osage County (National tour with Estelle Parsons) — Drama; EW grade: A

Brief Encounter (Minneapolis) — Drama With Music; 2/11/10 – 4/10/10; EW grade: A

Dreamgirls (National tour with Syesha Mercado) — Musical; EW grade: B+

The Female of the Species (Los Angeles) — Comedy starring Annette Bening; opened 2/11/10 – 3/14/10; EW grade: C+

(Las Vegas) — Special Performance; opened November 2004; EW grade: A-

LOVE (Las Vegas) — Musical Revue; opened 8/24/2006; EW grade: A-

Love Never Dies (London) — Musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber; opened 3/9/10; EW grade: C

Mary Poppins (National tour) — Musical; EW grade: B

Mystere (Las Vegas) — Special Performance; opened 5/25/1993; EW grade: A

O (Las Vegas) — Special Performance; opened October 1998; EW grade: A-

The Subject Was Roses Drama revival starring Martin Sheen; opened 2/21/10 – 3/21/10; EW grade: B

Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family (National tour) — Drama with Music; opened 1/6/10; EW grade: B-

Zumanity (Las Vegas) — Special Performance; opened September 2003; EW grade: C

More Stage coverage from EW.com:
Conan O’Brien announces tour dates
Ray Charles musical heading to Broadway
John Grisham’s ‘A Time to Kill’ heading to the stage
Evan Rachel Wood drops out of ‘Spider-Man’ musical
Broadway’s ‘A View From the Bridge’ turns a profit


Comments (9 total) Add your comment
  • AC

    Wish there was a review for The Temperamentals.

  • Madd

    Once again I want to thank you for at least covering Broadway a little. Love Never Dies isn’t supposed to be great, but did anyone really expect it to be?

  • Roland

    What I’m really intrigued about is a possible revival of one of Broadway’s most notorious musicals, Stephen King’s “Carrie”! A reading was done in November 2009 with some new songs…will a second time be a charm for our favorite telekinetic prom queen?

  • Michael

    I’d be curious to read reviews of The Little Dog Laughed and also of The Misanthrope, but both are in London, and maybe EW only sends reviewers to London rarely. In any case, I saw them both and thought they were fantastic!

  • justjack

    “Love Never Dies” aka “Paint Never Dries”

  • Christy Andersen

    It doesn’t just seem rehashed, it IS rehashed. The title song is ‘Our Kind of Love’ from ‘The Beautiful Game’, with the lyrics and key changed. It isn’t as though Lloyd Webber hasn’t done similar things before (“Next Time You Fall In Love”/”The Ballad of Billy McCaw”), but come on – the title song couldn’t be original?

  • beauty advice

    My friend’s aunt saw it and said it was pretty average. I think it just has too much to live up to. Sequels to greatness must be even better. Lover Never Dies seems to fall quite a long way short.

  • Love Should Die

    The Phantom of the Opera needed no sequel, least of all one as ludicrous as this.

    http://facebook.com/luvshoulddie

    http://twitter.com/loveshoulddie

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