Friday, October 9, 2009
“I think it’s great that ‘The Phantom’ has a part two,” said Gladys Luciano-Fairfield, as she prepared her notes for class. “The ending was so sad and dramatic. I think it deserves an explanation.”
For seventeen years, Luciano-Fairfield has instructed “The Phantom of the Opera” at Drexel Neumann Academy in Chester, Pennsylvania. Each year, students become intrigued by the play’s plot and are left question, “What becomes of The Phantom?”
“I was rooting for The Phantom,” said Keyonna Morton, a student in Luciano-Fairfield’s class, “but he disappeared [at the play’s end] under a cloak, left without his mask, and didn’t leave with Christine. …He was the star. What happened?”
Characters such as Christine and The Phantom have left an impact of people of all ages, without explanation of their whereabouts, at the play’s end. The confusion has left fans, worldwide, intrigued and demanding more. Once “The Phantom” reached a worldwide audience and garnered hundreds of theatrical awards—including a 1986 London Olivier Award for Best Musical, a 1988 New York Tony Award for Best Director (Hal Prince), a 1999/2001 UK Group Leisure Industry Award for Best Theater Production, and a 1991 Australian Tourism Award for Award of Distinction in Festivals and Special Events—Andrew Lloyd Webber, musical composer of the play, met with his former leading directors and producers to create a sequel of “The Phantom of the Opera,” titled “Love Never Dies.”
“Love Never Dies” takes place ten years after “The Phantom of the Opera” ends. Instead of The Phantom wreaking more havoc in a Parisian opera house, he has come to the United States in search of success at Coney Island, according to LoveNeverDies.com.
“The Phantom thought he finally found love in a young soprano,” said Luciano-Fairfield, “yet she fell in love with the young Raoul and although The Phantom gave Christine her voice, she followed her heart….” “…And went with the non-murderous, dashing, and rich, Raoul,” said Keyonna, as she hurriedly looked to floor for interrupting her professor. “She’s just as excited as I am,” said the professor, as she glared at her student, “and I’ve been teaching this for a long time. I’m glad Lloyd Webber’s releasing something fresh for the young ‘Phantom’ fans to follow.”
The official press release for “Love Never Dies” took place in London’s West End on Thursday, and was the first topic of Luciano-Fairfield’s class, the following day. “I had to show my students this clip,” she said. “It showed them how grand and exciting a Part Two of ‘The Phantom’ will be.”
“The show’s premiering in London,” said Keyonna. “I can’t wait ‘til it comes to the U.S.”
According to LoveNeverDies.com, “Love Never Dies” has its global premier on Tuesday, March 9, 2010, at the Adelphi Theatre in London, and premiers in the United States on Thursday, March 11, 2010, in New York. An Australian premier is set for early 2011.
“I supported Lloyd Webber when he said, ‘The Phantom is the single most successful entertainment entity in history’,” said Luciano-Fairfield. “[Gaston] Leroux’s book [from which the theatrical production is based] and the movie production were great, but a ‘Phantom Two’ is what everyone’s been waiting for and I can’t wait to teach it.”