Tristan Johnson, Archivist
“Love is not always beautiful, not at the start. But open your arms, and close your eyes tight. Look with your heart and when it finds love, your heart will be right,” exclaims Christine, a character found within one of the newest masterpieces to be added to Andrew Lloyd Weber’s repertoire of musical theater hits, “Love Never Dies.” The touring production, fresh off the stage from London, recently stopped for a couple of weeks in St. Louis. It was met with both high praise and heavy critiques.
When the audience enters through the doors of the Fabulous Fox Theatre and views the stage for the first time, they can tell they are in for a treat. The space within the theater is much darker than usual and the gold detailing on the Fox Theatre’s walls is harder to make out. The stage, where an elaborate set is expected to be, is covered with a dark curtain. The audience can feel they are in for an adventure.
“Love Never Dies” is the sequel to the Andrew Lloyd Weber’s iconic piece of musical theater, “The Phantom of the Opera.” It stars the same characters audiences have fallen in love with for over 30years. The story of the show takes place 10 years later after the ending events of its predecessor, but instead of taking place in a Paris opera house, the audience travels to Coney Island to begin their journey with these memorable characters. The Phantom, Christine Daaé and her now-husband Raoul, all are intertwined once again in this two-and-a-half-hour operatic journey.
“Love Never Dies” played at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis from Sept. 18 through 30, with both evening and matinee performances. The touring show stars Bronson Norris Murphy as The Phantom, Meghan Picerno as Christine and Sean Thompson as Raoul. The cast is rounded out by spectacular supporting and ensemble actors, including Katrina Kemp’s (best known for appearing on “American Horror Story” and touring with Miley Cyrus) portrayal of Fleck. The sets and costumes, designed by Gabriela Tylesova, truly bring a sense of wonder to the stage. Each design element contributes flawlessly with the action that is occurring onstage. One of the standout moments of the show was Picerno’s beautiful rendition of the title song, “Love Never Dies.”
While the technical aspects of the show and the performances of the cast members were something to be seen, the show did fall flat at certain points. Calvin Wilson, a reviewer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, states in his review for the show that there are standout moments, but, “it’s a shame that the first act is such a meandering slog.”
While the first act did drudge on for quite a bit and was confusing at times, the second act more than made up for it. If audiences were able to make it through the first parts of the story where heavy plot lines are thrown around and twists are everywhere, then they were greeted with a fantastic conclusion to one of the most famous love stories in musical theater history. The pros of the show outweighed the cons, as people were still humming the songs as they were walking out of the theater and onto the street. The run of “Love Never Dies” at the Fabulous Fox was an exciting change to the theater’s typical lineup and was an incredible opportunity for all audience members to view.