The Broadway opening of Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom sequel, has been officially postponed.
In a statement, the producers of the Broadway show said that the premiere will be delayed for several months, until around Spring 2011, whilst Lord Webber deals with “post-operative problems” from his treatment for prostate cancer.
He is currently starring in BBC One talent show Over The Rainbow to find a new Dorothy to star in a multi-million pound West End production of The Wizard of Oz.
Love Never Dies, which continues to do well at the box-office at the Adelphi Theatre in London, got mixed reviews when it opened last month. Ben Brantley, the chief theatre critic of the New York Times, was especially critical, which may also have been a factor in delaying the Broadway production whilst tweaks are made. A number of unconfirmed reports have cited that Lloyd Webber is unhappy with some key elements of the show including the opening and a new entrance for the Phantom.
The statement from the Broadway producers is as follows:
The Broadway premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s LOVE NEVER DIES will open at the Neil Simon Theatre in the Spring of 2011.
The original opening date, planned for November 2010, was set before Lloyd Webber was diagnosed with prostate cancer last fall. Although the cancer has been eradicated, there have been post-operative problems. These have been aggravated by recent air travel and Lloyd Webber’s doctors have requested that he does not take any further long-haul flights for the time being and until the problem has been investigated. This prevents him attending auditions and being part of the pre-production process in New York on the original schedule
Andrew Lloyd Webber is currently appearing in the BBC television series, “Over the Rainbow,” in which he is looking to cast the lead role of Dorothy for his new production of “The Wizard of Oz.” Andrew performs weekly on live British television which was also a commitment undertaken before the prostate cancer was diagnosed. This complication, together with the doctors’ advice, has made it impossible to keep to the original Broadway schedule for LOVE NEVER DIES. Therefore, the decision has been made to move “The Wizard of Oz” forward in London and to schedule the Broadway premiere of LOVE NEVER DIES for 2011 thus allowing Andrew the freedom to travel to New York and oversee the audition and rehearsal process later in the year.
The Spring 2011 date for LOVE NEVER DIES takes into account the schedules of Jack O’Brien (director) and Jerry Mitchell (choreographer) and the rest of show’s creative team. The Nederlander Organization is holding the Neil Simon Theatre for the production on Broadway, and casting, group sales and single ticket sales will start later this year.
Andrew Lloyd Webber said “I am extremely frustrated that I cannot travel to New York for the time being. I will be focusing my time on producing “The Wizard of Oz” in London now, and plan to be available for the creative process of bringing LOVE NEVER DIES to Broadway as soon as possible. I’m grateful that Jack and Jerry’s schedules can allow me to do this juggling act.”
The West End production of LOVE NEVER DIES opened on March 9, 2010 and continues to play to packed houses at the Adelphi Theatre. The album of the show is number one in various territories in the West and in Asia and will be released in the US later this year. The planned roll-out of the production to Australia and Asia later in 2011 is unaffected.