REVIEW: Reunite with The Phantom and Christine in ‘Love Never Dies’

“Love Never Dies” Photo by Joan Marcus

BY KATE ROARK
DRAMA CRITIC

“Love Never Dies,” delivers everything you want from an Andrew Lloyd Webber this week through June 17)at the Peace Center.  A sequel to PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, this musical has all the music of the night, romance, and magically eerie spectacle we love from Webber.

Set 10 years after PHANTOM, in New York’s Coney Island, LOVE NEVER DIES delivers a gorgeous and mysterious circus world where Christine and the Phantom are reunited, though Christine is now married to Raoul and has a son, Gustave. Though a sequel, LOVE NEVER DIES stands on its own; you can fall in love with the Phantom and Christine for the first time or the 40th time and you won’t miss a beat!

Bronson Norris Murphy is a perfect Phantom, with a powerful voice that captures all the longing, danger, and frustration of this famous role.  From his opening number, “Till I Hear You Sing,” to the conclusion, Murphy haunts the stage with passion and pathos. Murphy’s duet with the handsome Sean Thompson as Raoul in “Devil Take the Hindmost,” was one of the finest and most memorable songs in the production.  Jake Heston Miller, playing Christine’s son, Gustave, is also a major talent with stunning high notes in “Beautiful/The Beauty Underneath,” which briefly riffs on the classic title “Phantom of the Opera” song.  This kid is destined for greatness!

The stellar Rachel Anne Moore as Christine is also unforgettable. From the tender duet with Gustave, “Look With Your Heart,” to new duets with The Phantom, “Beneath a Moonless Sky,” and “Once Upon Another Time,” to her solo powerhouse performance of “Love Never Dies,” Moore is flawless. Mary Michael Patterson as Meg, is a delight in the vaudeville style numbers “Only For You,” and “Bathing Beauty.” Karen Mason as Madame Giry, Meg’s mother, also soars in the delightfully awkward reunion with Christine, Raoul, and Meg in “Dear Old Friend,” and the quartet reprise of “Devil Take the Hindmost.”

Eerie and lavish spectacle is one of the things we expect with PHANTOM, and LOVE NEVER DIES does not disappoint.  From the glittering and gritty nightlife of Coney Island to Christine’s glamorously elegant rooms to the jaw-dropping, gorgeous costumes, the audience is mesmerized.

The ensemble is a major part of the spectacle, creating a carnivalesque atmosphere where you’re drawn in to catch a peep of the magical and strange, to escape the normal and trivial, to lose yourself in the world of The Phantom.

But most of all, an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is about the music.  Composed by Webber, with lyrics by Glenn Slater (“The Little Mermaid,” “Sister Act,” “School of Rock,” Disney’s “Tangled”) the music is still the magic. Music Director Dale Rieling conducts the orchestra through a dizzying array of musical styles; tender love songs, vaudeville, power rock numbers, and sweeping operatic arias.

Let your fantasies unwind anew; see “Love Never Dies,” this week at the Peace Center, 300 South Main Street in Greenville. For tickets, call the Box Office at
(864) 467-3000 or visit http://www.peacecenter.org.

 

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