Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Phantom Takes Manhattan

Bring Back Birdie
Annie 2: Miss Hannigan's Revenge

and now Phantom...Once Upon Another Time

Andrew Lloyd Webber is fast at work on his impending sequel to his monstrously successful The Phantom of the Opera, which finds the characters a few years later in New York, where Christine has become a successful opera singer.

The show's first act was presented at the Sydmonton Festival this month and first word of the plot and storyline are starting to come in. From Andrew Gans at Playbill:

The new musical, directed by Jack O'Brien, is set in Coney Island in 1906. The Post describes the musical's first half as such: "The Phantom, having fled Paris, is running a freak show. At night, he crawls into his lair and makes love to an automaton that looks like Christine. Christine, meanwhile, has become a famous opera singer. But she's fallen on hard times because her husband, Raoul, has squandered their fortune. So she's accepted a high-paying gig from a mysterious impresario to open a new amusement park. On her first night in New York, she draws back the curtain in her hotel suite and comes face to face with her new employer — flash of lightning, crash of chords — the Phantom! Christine has a child, Gustave, but is his father Raoul or the Phantom?"

Hold everything. He makes love to an automaton that looks like Christine? Is anyone else completely horrified/hysterical with laughter at that? I know I am, and it's out of a vague discomfort at the entire prospect.

I'm not suggesting that a musical theatre sequel cannot be a success, it's just that for the most part they've been nothing but complete and utter disasters, with those two follow-ups I mentioned the most notable. (Though there was some success with the eventual Annie Warbucks that played off-Broadway in 1993, it was still better to leave well-enough alone).

I'm trying to think of a musical sequel that has been a success, but none seem to come to me. Perhaps Divorce Me, Darling, the follow-up to The Boy Friend, has done alright for itself, but it's nothing close to being an established title.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.


Roxie said...

This makes me want to die inside.

SarahB said...

I just vomited in my mouth.