“Love Never Dies” is a poor addition to the otherwise celebrated broadway livestreams

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Christine Daaè (Anna O'byrne) and her son Gustave (Jack Lyall) share a sweet moment on stage as she sings him the lullaby "Look with your Heart." Courtesy of Andrew Lloyd Webber

The arts have suffered greatly during the COVID-19 shutdown, but renowned impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber has found a way to bring state-of-the-art performances to the people. Webber is one of the most well-known composers in the world, with works like “School of Rock,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “The Wizard of Oz” under his belt. 

With theatres going dark amid the pandemic, Webber has released live plays every Friday during quarantine as a donation-based fundraiser for the acting community. Fans were excited when Weber announced that the sequel to one of his most famous works, “The Phantom of the Opera,” would be available to stream on April 24. However, it became apparent early on that the sequel does not hold a candle to the original. 

“Love Never Dies,” leaves the audience more confused than anything and is written as a bad fan fiction rather than an official work. This may be because the original play was adapted from a book written by Gaston Leroux, while the sequel is purely the work of modern playwrights — Webber included. The lack of depth and true understanding of the story’s appeal is illuminated as the sequel destroys many of the plotlines that made the original so captivating. 

One of the most incriminating problems with the script is it’s seeming disregard for the qualities and mannerisms of the original characters. Each character has taken on a different personality. Although the story takes place 10 years later, they are too starkly contrasted from the characters Phantom fans have come to know and love.

Despite the undesirable plotline, there are some redeeming qualities that any Phantom fan is likely to appreciate, one being the musical score. The music pays tribute to the original Phantom while adding a modern flair. The lyrics aren’t as well written in comparison to the original but the emotion reigns through. Ben Lewis and Anna O’Byrne put on stunning performances as the stars of the show, with voices that certainly befit the personas of hauntingly talented artists.

Weber will continue to live stream shows via the YouTube channel “The Shows Must Go On” every Friday at noon, where they remain available for 48 hours. Shows are announced weekly, but you can keep a lookout for updates on Webber’s website.

 Kirstin Joyce can be reached at [email protected] or @joyce_kirstin on Twitter.