Speaking by satellite from London to media at the Queen’s Hall in Victoria’s Parliament House, he said the production would also have its own, unique, Australian stamp. Produced by Lloyd Webber’s Asia Pacific representative Tim McFarlane, it will be directed by Melbourne’s Simon Phillips and have a new design by Sydney based Gabriela Tylesova.
Nationwide auditions will begin in a fortnight – on Monday October 25, the same day tickets go on sale. Waitlisting has begun through Ticketmaster, and people can join the production’s email registration list at loveneverdies.com.au.
“ The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most popular theatre productions of all time and we are delighted that Andrew Lloyd Webber has chosen Melbourne to be the second city in the world to stage the continuing story, LOVE NEVER DIES,” Minister for the Arts Tim Holding, speaking at today’s media conference, said.
Andrew Lloyd Webber said the Australian production would be only the second in the world. The composer of The Phantom of the Opera said, ‘I have a great affiliation with Australia. My musicals have always done exceptionally well there. I have worked internationally with many of Australia’s finest theatrical talent.’
Tim McFarlane, Producer, The Really Useful Company Asia Pacific, said The Phantom of the Opera had been seen in 149 cities around the world and taken more than $5 billion at the box office – more than the combined box office takings of the two top grossing films of all time, Avatar and Titanic.
‘ The Phantom of the Opera is the most successful single entertainment of all time,’ he said. ‘Over two tours of Australia and New Zealand, in 1990 -1998 and 2007-2009, it has been enjoyed by more than five million people. Those who saw Phantom and loved the show will be excited to see how the story continues and all those who appreciate music theatre will be thrilled by LOVE NEVER DIES.’
The musical, the most awaited in decades, had its premiere in London’s Adelphi Theatre on March 9 this year. The Independent called it ‘Phabulous!’ The Express said, ‘The allure of the Phantom never dies,’ the Telegraph called it ‘Lloyd Webber’s finest show since the original Phantom,’ and the Times, ‘Andrew Lloyd Webber at his musical best.’
Mr Holding said that theatre was a key part of Melbourne’s major events calendar. “Over the last four years, blockbuster theatre shows such as Wicked, Jersey Boys and currently, Mary Poppins have drawn hundreds of thousands of interstate and overseas visitors to Melbourne ensuring that our hotels, restaurants and famous retail precincts are busy throughout the year,” Mr Holding said.
“Following the success of Wicked, Jersey Boys and Mary Poppins, securing the Australian premiere of LOVE NEVER DIES strengthens Melbourne’s position as the theatre capital of Australia”.
Simon Phillips, Director of LOVE NEVER DIES says:
“It’s an honour to be working on an Australian production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s dazzling new work. The score of LOVE NEVER DIES is truly ravishing, loaded with big lyrical ballads and some taut and unforgettably hummable ensembles.
“One of the early highlights in my directing career was a production of Jesus Christ Superstar, but in the current climate of single versions of musicals playing forever I never thought I’d have the pleasure of directing a new work by the undisputed master of contemporary musical theatre.
“So I’m delighted that Andrew Lloyd Webber has chosen an Australian team to work on his inspired new structural changes, which promise to further intensify the thrills and spills of the story as told in London.
“I’ve already begun developing a design with Gabriela Tylesova, hoping to do with the razzamatazz of Coney Island what Maria Bjornson’s iconic Phantom designs did with the opulence of the Paris Opera, and I can’t wait to start the search for the formidable talents required to do justice to the score!”
LOVE NEVER DIES ’ premiere in London on March 9 coincided with the Australian release of Universal Music’s double CD Album, recorded at Abbey Road Studios with some of the London cast and more than 100 musicians.
George Ash, resident Australasia of Universal Music Australia, said, “Andrew Lloyd Webber’s success in Australia is beyond comparison. He has sold more cast recordings than any other composer in history and for us to be a partner in the launch of LOVE NEVER DIES to Australian audiences is an absolute honour.”
Visit the Love Never Dies Australia website here