Today is the last day of Love Never Dies in London. This sequel to The Phantom of the Opera has had a bumpy ride since it opened in March 2010. I’ve never seen the musical, and before last spring I wasn’t even aware of it, but my passion for Les Misérables brought lead actor Ramin Karimloo to my attention. He played Enjolras in the 25th anniversary concert, and since seeing the US television broadcast of the concert, I have been following him on twitter and his facebook page.
Because I haven’t seen Love Never Dies, I’m somewhat removed from the emotions surrounding today’s closing. That’s not to say I’m completely unfamiliar with the musical. I’ve watched official clips on YouTube, visited the official website, and a very generous friend sent me the cast recording. These are not substitutes for sitting in the Adelphi Theatre and experiencing the actual musical. I know that, and that makes me sad. What I will miss after today, though, is following the news about Love Never Dies from Karimloo and his fans. For the last six months, tracking this drama has been surprisingly interesting. First Karimloo was leaving the cast after a year as The Phantom, then he stayed on. Then he was leaving in September. Then the news leaked to the press, before the cast was told, that the show itself would be closing today. The emotions surrounding this closing have covered all the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and for some, acceptance.
A new production of Love Never Dies opened this summer in Melbourne, and a touring production is planned, so the show goes on. The Melbourne production is reportedly being filmed for a DVD release, and fans have been vocal about wanting a recording of the London production. I can’t say I’m too optimistic about that happening. I have no doubt that some type of recording has been made, but that doesn’t mean it will ever be released to the public. I have more optimism about the upcoming Phantom of the Opera 25th anniversary concert, also starring Ramin Karimloo. I’m also feeling optimistic about Karimloo performing in other roles in the future where we can see his real face. It’s a nice face, and I’d like to see more of it.
So, farewell, Love Never Dies. My best to all the cast, and to the faithful fans who waited at the stage door while Karimloo got out of his Phantom makeup, who tweeted to pass the time, and who posted their stage door photos and shared their stories. It’s been awfully good fun.