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Theatre / Love Never Dies

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The sequel to Andrew Lloyd Webber's sensationally popular The Phantom of the Opera. It takes place on Coney Island, approximately ten years after the end of Phantom. Madame Giry and her daughter, Meg, helped the Phantom to escape to America after the events of the first show, and from there made it possible for him to open up a lavish amusement park on Coney Island. Then, without telling either of the Girys, he lures Christine — now married to Raoul — to come sing at his park. Craziness ensues. Music was done by Andrew Lloyd Webber, while the book was written by him, as well as Ben Elton, and Glenn Slater.

The show ran from 2010-11 in the West End. A rewritten Australian production ran from 2011-12 and was filmed and released on DVD, and several other countries (Denmark, Japan, etc.) have mounted their own productions since. A Broadway staging was supposed to launch in New York City in Fall 2010, but has since been lost to Development Hell. A North American touring production launched in 2017.

Compare and contrast with The Phantom of Manhattan, the novel derived from Lloyd Webber and Frederick Forsyth's ideas for a sequel in The '90s.

Love Never Dies provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Villainy: Meg, who was Christine's best friend in the original musical, shoots and kills her out of jealousy. Raoul suffers this, too; although not really a villain, he became The Alcoholic and picked up a gambling problem that makes him a less-than-ideal husband to Christine, while neither trait was present in the original book or play.
    • In the revised production, Meg tries to commit suicide, and Christine is accidentally shot as the Phantom tries to wrest the gun away.
    • Madame Giry as well. In the original musical she pretty skillfully maintained a neutral force between the Phantom and the others. Here, she is a bitter hag who is only helping the Phantom for the reward.
  • The Alcoholic: Raoul. This is what he spends his money on along with his gambling addiction.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: The Phantom once was, of course, a psychopathic murderer, yet Christine is still attracted to him.
    • Meg Giry counts as well, her love for him the result of being brought up by Madame Giry to serve him, and the poor girl trying to find a sense of validation for it all. Too bad he doesn't know any of that...
  • Alternate Continuity: Veers strongly away from the book on which it is based.
  • Amusement Park: Phantasma.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: The pre-Retool prologue was set a few years after the play's main action, with Phantasma a mostly-abandoned ruin inhabited only by its freaks.
  • Arc Words: "Leave the ____ behind".
    • "Beautiful".
  • Ascended Extra: Meg, who did next to nothing in the original musical (singing one song, singing bit parts in other songs, and finding the Phantom's mask at the end), is now a major character.
  • The Bet: The Phantom bets Raoul that Christine will stay and sing that night...
  • Big Applesauce
  • Big "NO!": Two characters each get one in the same sequence: Gustave when Christine reveals that the Phantom is his real dad, and the Phantom himself as she expires.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: In the Australian version, Squelch is big (he's a strongman), Gangle is thin (he's a barker), and Fleck is short (she's a little person).
  • Bittersweet Ending: Meg kills Christine. However, she dies in the Phantom's arms, and Gustave is willing to accept him as his father in the final moments.
    • Depending on how YMMV it could also be considered a Downer Ending, as Raoul is widowed and alone, his son Gustave is left in the care of an obsessive recluse who might harm him if he does something untoward, and Meg ends up completely broken, thanks especially to Erik lighting the fuse by telling her 'we can't all be like Christine'. As Musical Hell says, the only one with a true positive outcome is Erik, who's at fault for pretty much everything that went wrong in both this and its prequel.
  • Broken Bird: With all the time and effort she's spent on the Phantom and pining for (and being ignored by) him, it's Meg Giry who seems to be the most pitiable character in the show, oddly enough supplanting his role in the last show.
  • Canon Discontinuity: One has to wonder if Lloyd Webber completely forgot about the prologue to Phantom when writing this sequel, or anything about the timeline. The bulk of Phantom takes place in 1881 and its prologue in 1905. Love Never Dies is set during 1907.
    • What's more, Raoul's dialogue when buying the music box in Phantom's prologue is in past tense, implying that Christine may already be dead by the time of Love Never Dies.
    Raoul: Every detail exactly as she said. She often spoke of you, my friend, your velvet lining and your figurine of lead. Will you still play when all the rest of us are dead?
    • There are also multiple mentions of ten years passing between the events of Phantom and the events of Love Never Dies. It's actually 26 years (or two, if the prologue is counted).
    • The recap of the last show's events on the DVD place the events of the original Phantom in 1895, which would be (roughly) ten years prior to the given date. Regardless, this still conflicts with the dates given in the original.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: The "Bathing Beauty" production number is built around this trope, as Meg goes through several bathing outfits in the space of a minute.
  • Cheerful Child: Gustave is sweet, loving, and excited and curious about the world of Coney Island; the only real concern he has is that his father doesn't care much about him or his mother.
  • Come to Gawk: Inverted in the Australian production. The Phantom shows Gustave the Phantasma freak show during "The Beauty Underneath", which features a group of pinheads, a cyclops, a winged fairy, a mermaid, a man with never-cut fingernails, etc., most of them housed in mirrored obelisks. However, the setup is rather glamorous (especially when one recalls that the Phantom, who grew up in a freak show, was imprisoned in a cage and [in the movie version] abused) and the sequence is a moment of bonding between the Phantom and Gustave because the latter thinks Freaky Is Cool.
  • Costume Porn: As per its predecessor.
  • Counterpoint Duet: "Devil Take the Hindmost".
  • Crowd Song: "Heaven by the Sea", before it was dropped; its purpose and status as a crowd song is filled in the Australian production by "The Coney Island Waltz" via incorporating the lyrics from the show's original prologue. Some of its music appears in "Only for You" as well.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: In the original London prologue (and the cast album), Fleck explains Phantasma's ruined state as the result of "the fire that destroyed everything". The audience never learns what caused the fire.
  • Cymbal Clanging Monkey: The music box from the original Phantom reappears as an automaton at Phantasma in the Australian version of "The Coney Island Waltz".
  • Dark Reprise: As with the original, positive melodies later reappear in darker forms, most obviously and extremely "Bathing Beauty" in the final scene.
  • Derailing Love Interests: Raoul, so that the possibility of Christine and the Phantom getting together can be raised again.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Poor Christine, right in the arms of the Phantom after Meg fatally shoots her.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Erik nearly has an enraged, gun-toting Meg calmed down.. then he has to say "We all can't be like Christine", stepping on Meg's Berserk Button and ensuring nobody is getting out of the situation happily.
  • Distracted by the Luxury: The Phantom gives Christine a necklace during "Before the Performance", probably hoping that by reminding her that he is wealthy now (as opposed to the near-penniless Raoul) he can invoke this trope and ensure that she will sing for him again.
  • Double Entendre: Meg says she kept "dying" for Erik. This may sound like she's just talking about putting herself through the wringer, but there's a French slang term for orgasm: "le petit mort", or "the little death". And considering Meg is French and slept with men in high places to "grease the wheels" for Erik's benefit...
  • Downer Ending
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Raoul does this at the start of Act Two at a Coney Island bar, wondering in song "Why Does She [Christine] Love Me?" Meg even asks him "Drowning your sorrows?" when she arrives.
  • The Edwardian Era: The temporal setting.
  • The Eleven O'Clock Number: The title song.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier if French: Meg Giry's stage career in America seems to benefit from this trope; she is billed as "The Ooh-La-La Girl" at Phantasma.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: In the London production, Christine's gown for the concert.
  • Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: The Phantom gives Christine a dazzling necklace as part of "Before the Performance".
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: For Meg and her fellow Phantasma dancers.
  • Freaky Is Cool: Gustave thinks so, as established in the songs "Beautiful" and "The Beauty Underneath".
  • The Gambling Addict: Raoul de Chagny, which leaves the family Trapped by Gambling Debts and thus accepting the lucrative offer extended to Christine to perform in the U.S.
  • Glorified Sperm Donor: The Phantom. Despite his running out on Christine immediately after conceiving Gustave and showing no evidence that he could make a decent parent, we're supposed to be happy when he ends up with the kid he's never known. At least he's not an alcoholic...
  • Gold Digger: Madame Giry, in "Ten Long Years", accuses Christine of being this — why else would she have rejected the Phantom for Raoul?
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Most of the characters are either members of the upper crust or performers at a lavish amusement park, so this is a given.
  • Grief Song: The final stretch of reprises in the show chronicle Christine's death and its aftermath.
  • The Hecate Sisters: Meg (maiden), Christine (mother), and Madame Giry (crone).
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Meg Giry seems to be an uncharacteristically young example of this trope; back in Paris she had a "promising" ballet career ahead of her — the stage musical even presents her as the lead of the corps de ballet — and now she's a burlesque stripper.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Meg Giry is this to the Phantom.
  • Incest Subtext: As described on the YMMV page.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: It's Raoul who makes this decision.
  • "I Want" Song: "Till I Hear You Sing".
  • Last Kiss: It is shared between the dying Christine and the Phantom.
  • Little People Are Surreal: Fleck, an aerialist, is also a little person in the Australian production. (In the London version, she's of average stature but "half-bird, half-woman".)
  • Love Dodecahedron: Christine must once again choose between Raoul and the Phantom, and then things are further complicated with Meg Giry's interest in the Phantom, as an Ignored Enamored Underling.
  • Love Makes You Crazy/Love Makes You Evil: Meg Giry, in the climax. "I gave what they would take. I gave it for your sake!"
  • Meaningful Name: Originally, Christine and company came to the U.S. on the ship Persephone; this was subsequently changed, but the detail turns up on the soundtrack album. And why didn't she and Raoul suspect anything was amiss when she was asked to perform at a park called Phantasma? (The Australian version changes this plot point — she comes to the U.S. because she's been hired by Oscar Hammerstein, but the Phantom does some arm twisting to convince her to sing for him instead - unless, of course, the Phantom was impersonating Hammerstein when she was hired, which is probable - he doesn't pick up the de Chagny's from the pier as "he" promised he would, "he" invites Raoul to the bar for a meeting and never shows up, allowing the Phantom and Christine to have some time alone, and most damningly, the Phantom knows exactly how much "he" agreed to pay Christine to sing.)
  • Melodrama: As per its predecessor, the characters get themselves into a lather over every little thing. Gustave desperately pleads with his father to look at a music box, and the Phantom entering Christine's room is scored with music that would be more appropriate for a tragic ending to a show than the halfway point of Act One.
  • Monster Clown: Subverted in the Australian version with Gangle and the other clowns — they and their fellow Phantasma performers are working for the Phantom and come off as strange and menacing in the way they beckon visitors to their stomping grounds, but are not actually bad people.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: "The Beauty Underneath" is brought to a halt when the Phantom removes his mask and Gustave screams.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Raoul asks himself this when he realizes that he might not win his bet with the Phantom.
    • Meg also has this reaction after her gun goes off by accident shooting her best friend in the process. In the London Production the show ends as she tearfully cradles Christine's lifeless body in her arms, as the Phantom comforts Gustave.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: At the end, the Phantom has almost talked Meg down... only to inadvertently call her less beautiful than Christine. That's enough to make Meg shoot Christine (original production) or attempt suicide and accidentally shoot Christine while she's fighting over the gun with the Phantom (revised production).
  • Not Actually His Child: During Devil Take The Hindmost, the Phantom rebuts Raoul’s claim that Christine loves him more because they have a son by saying that Gustave is not actually Raoul’s son.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: In the original London cast recording. Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess, Joseph Millson and Harry Child have of course an English accent, Summer Strallen has rather strangely an American one, while Sally Dexter, like Miranda Richardson in the 2004 movie, has a French accent... albeit not a very good one, which, to be honest, borders more on the Transylvanian accent.
  • Oblivious to Love: The Phantom doesn't realize that Meg Giry's become an Ignored Enamored Underling because he's preoccupied with Christine.
  • Obviously Evil: Madame Giry was immediately suspected of kidnapping Gustave because of this.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: The music box the three freaks give Gustave upon arrival plays the opening strains of "The Point of No Return", alterting Christine to the danger she and her family are walking into. (In the London version, it only played a cheerful march at first, but then "Point of No Return" just before the Phantom enters Christine's room.)
  • Only in It for the Money: Christine is performing at Phantasma solely to earn money to pay off Raoul's gambling debts.
  • Opening Ballet: After the prologue comes "The Coney Island Waltz" in the London version. The Australian version turned it into a full song for the Phantom's lackeys and the chorus and set it after "Till I Hear You Sing", which was moved to the top of the show.
  • Papa Wolf: After Christine sings the title song and returns to the dressing room, she discovers Gustave is missing. Needless to say, his father is livid. He is ready to use every bit of his influence to stop the culprit from leaving Coney Island, even threatening murder.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Christine has one for her Coney Island concert.
  • Power Trio: Fleck, Squelch, and Gangle, a trio of "freaks" who serve as the Phantom's lackeys.
  • Proper Lady: Christine strives to be this, and works hard to present a proper face to the world despite Raoul's flaws making her and Gustave's life less than ideal.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Before kidnapping Gustave, Meg Giry destroys a dressing room mirror.
  • Reclusive Artist: In-universe. The Phantom became this over the ten years separating the two shows — everyone in New York City knows about the amazing "Mr. Y", but very, very few see him.
  • Retool: Due to the less-than-favorable response from both critics and die-hard fans, the show was substantially rewritten to "tighten it up" at the end of 2010. This revised version was supposed to go to Broadway, but instead was produced in Australia and subsequently filmed.
  • The Reveal: The show pivots on three big reveals: one, the Phantom and Christine had a one-night stand, two, he's Gustave's father, and three, the Phantom's dreams could never have been realized if Meg hadn't been forced into prostitution.
  • Right Behind Me:
    • As Meg leaves the bar, Raoul shouts after her that the Phantom isn't as powerful as she thinks he is, and that he's no more than a "circus freak". Then he turns and sees the Phantom has just arrived...
    • In the London staging, as Raoul shouts about never having to see that horrible face again, he turns around and the Phantom is tending bar and not wearing his mask.
  • Sanity Slippage: At the end, Meg undergoes this.
  • Scenery Porn: The London version used video effects for this (particularly for scene transitions), and the Australian version was arguably even more lavish.
  • Sequel Escalation: In a fairly clever Call-Back to the original, which had The Chandelier Of Doom And Exposition reassemble itself and rise above the audience during the overture, LND has Coney Island itself go from decrepit wreck to dazzling midway while the chorus sings about its heyday.
  • Setting Introduction Song: "The Coney Island Waltz".
  • Set Switch Song: "Invitation to the Concert".
  • The Song Before the Storm: The reprise of "Devil Take the Hindmost".
  • Spurned into Suicide: In one version of the musical, Meg is about to shoot herself because the Phantom doesn't feel the same way she does towards him. He is able to stop her, but she accidentally shoots Christine.
  • Stage Mom: Madame Giry for Meg.
  • Stripperific: Meg's costumes.
  • Stylistic Suck: "Bathing Beauty", a parody of inane, teasing vaudeville numbers.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Towards the end of his big number about "The Beauty within", the Phantom shows Gustave his disfigured face, to which the boy instantly screams and runs off in a fright. While people are capable of looking past appearances, one can't just expect a child to have the emotional maturity to do so automatically.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: The Phantom tries to do this to Meg after she loses it. He's pretty successful at it too, until he says "we can't all be like Christine", after which things go to hell.
  • Tenor Boy: Raoul, though he's not much of a boy anymore...
  • Those Three Guys: The freaks, Fleck, Squelch, and Gangle. Miss Fleck sort of stands out more due to being a woman and (in the Australian production) a little person.
  • Title Drop: Christine does this several times, and not just in the title song.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Raoul somehow became a neglectful father and whiny drunk.
  • Trapped by Gambling Debts: The de Chagnys, thanks to Raoul.
  • True Beauty Is on the Inside: The show's most harped-upon message, down to the song titles "Look With Your Heart" and "The Beauty Underneath".
  • True Blue Femininity: Christine's dress for the concert in the Australian version; its coloring is modeled after a peacock's, and the stage backdrop of peacock feathers even serves as an extension of her gown.
  • True Love Is Boring: There's little indication given that Christine and Raoul have ever been happy since they got married.
  • Wham Line: "That boy... that music.... he plays like me!"
    • "We can't be all like Christine". Cue Meg's Villainous Breakdown and accidentally shooting Christine.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: So what happens to Meg? We spend all this time watching her heartbreaking descent into madness, she kills Christine, closure on her character?
  • Would Hurt a Child: Meg Giry tries to kill Gustave in the climax.
    • In the revised version, Christine refuses to sing for the Phantom until he threatens to take Gustave from her. He ends up having a Villainous Breakdown at the end of the first act when he realizes Gustave is his child.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Madame Giry claims as much. This takes on a darker cast when the audience learns that she prostituted her adult daughter for years.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The sequel, set in 1907, is supposed to take place ten years after the original. Whether you go by the stage version (set in 1881) or the movie (1870), this doesn't add up. The opening text on the filmed version of the Australian staging says the original's events took place in 1895! But it also says Love Never Dies takes place in 1905, so it's semi-averted.
  • Yandere:
    • Like in the original musical, the Phantom is still deep in his obsession for Christine and refuses to give up on her and is willing to threaten her to get what he wants.
    • Meg Giry of all characters has become one for the Phantom.
  • Your Son All Along: At the end of Act One, it's revealed that Gustave is the Phantom's son, not Raoul's.


Video Example(s):


Beneath a Moonless Sky Parody

During the review for "Love Never Dies", Diva provides a different version of said song with some "interesting" lyrics...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / SongParody

Media sources: