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Mixing Majesty with Mischief

Set in New York’s Coney Island in 1907, "Love Never Dies" picks up 10 years after the Phantom’s disappearance from the Paris Opera House.

Article
Lindsay Morris
Photos
Courtesy
Posted
September 28, 2018

If you’re a regular theatre-goer, you’ll never forget the chilling music and dramatic chandelier drop the first time you saw The Phantom of the Opera. But what happens after the Phantom comes out of the shadows of the Paris Opera House?

Andrew Lloyd Weber’s thrilling sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, is coming to the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Oct. 30-Nov. 4.

The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris Opera House, and the Phantom has escaped to a new life in New York, where he lives amongst the screaming joy rides and freak shows of Coney Island. In this new, electrically-charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar, but he has never stopped yearning for his one true love and musical protégée, Christine Daaé.

Bronson Norris Murphy, who plays the Phantom in this spellbinding sequel, says Love Never Dies is a must-see for fans of The Phantom, as well as those who have never seen it.

“It stands on its own,” Murphy says. “You get introduced to the characters and have a relationship with them from Phantom. We remind you of everything you need to know in the first five to 10 minutes, and then it’s a whole new story.”

While characters such as the Phantom, Daaé and Raoul de Chagny reappear in the sequel, Love Never Dies introduces a few new characters.
While characters such as the Phantom, Daaé and Raoul de Chagny reappear in the sequel, Love Never Dies introduces a few new characters.

Now one of the world’s finest sopranos, Daaé accepts an invitation to travel from Paris to New York to perform at a renowned opera house. Her marriage to Vicomte Raoul de Chagny is suffering at the hands of his drinking and gambling, and they desperately need the financial rewards that America can give them.

In a final bid to win back Daaé’s love, the Phantom lures her, Raoul de Chagny and their young son, Gustave, from Manhattan to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island.

Murphy says playing the Phantom is a dream come true. The actor, who spent three years performing in various roles in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, grew up listening to music from the show on a double-sided cassette tape.

Bronson Norris Murphy, who plays the Phantom in this spellbinding sequel, says Love Never Dies is a must-see for fans of The Phantom, as well as those who have never seen it.
Bronson Norris Murphy, who plays the Phantom in this spellbinding sequel, says Love Never Dies is a must-see for fans of The Phantom, as well as those who have never seen it.

“I get to wake up and tell the story of the guy I grew up with. It’s a pinch me moment,” he says.

However, the role is not an easy one. “It’s harder than anything I’ve ever done as far as vocals,” Murphy says.

The vocals are one challenge; nonverbal communication is another. “I only have half a face [due to the mask], so I have to use other faculties. I explore more of a physical character than I would in another role,” says Murphy.

“The Beauty Underneath” is Murphy’s favorite piece in the show. With mirrors and vivid images flying around, it’s the electric guitar moment similar to what you find in The Phantom.

While characters such as the Phantom, Daaé and Raoul de Chagny reappear in the sequel, Love Never Dies introduces a few new characters. Gangle, Fleck and Squelch are the Phantom’s henchmen and act as narrators. “They’re three different characters, but they act as one unit,” Murphy says.

Madame Giry and Meg Giry play larger roles than they did in Phantom. “Those two characters from the original stand out in a unique and different way,” Murphy says.

A DVD release of the Australian production of Love Never Dies has become popular globally, and this current North American tour brings the musical to the U.S. for the first time.

Love Never Dies spares no expense when it comes to the production elements. The crew uses no video screens or projections; it’s all lighting, sets and flair. When traveling from city to city, it takes 14 trailer trucks to transport all of the equipment.

“You’re going to see an old-fashioned, big, Broadway musical; no expenses spared. We’ll give you your money’s worth in design,” Murphy says.

Another highlight of the show is the orchestra. “There are 14 people, but they sound like 70,” Murphy says. “Our crew, ensemble and cast create classic melodrama unfolding onstage set to Andrew Lloyd Weber’s music.”

If you’re a fan of Phantom, Love Never Dies has “Easter eggs” as Murphy calls them. “Our Phantom fans find them and tell me about them at the stage door,” he says.  

LOCATOR
Love Never Dies
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E. 2nd St. | Tulsa
918-596-7111
tulsapac.com
Oct. 30-Nov. 1: 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 2: 8 p.m.
Nov. 3: 2 p.m., 8 p.m.
Nov. 4: 1 p.m., 6:30 p.m.