Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera opened in Her Majesty’s Theater in London on October 9, 1986. Since then, it’s been seen by over 100 million worldwide, making it the single most successful piece of entertainment in human history. And now, the story continues with Love Never Dies. The five leading characters from the original, the Phantom, Christine, Raoul, Madam Giry and Meg Giry all make appearances in the sequel. The only new big character is Christine and Raoul’s 10 year old son, Christof. The story’s set 10 years after the first, in Coney Island, NY. It’s a place “beyond anything anyone had ever seen” where “all the freaks and oddities went” as Webber says in a Q&A interview found on the play’s official website, LoveNeverDies.com. “The Phantom runs the place” and now lives “above everything” in a penthouse, as opposed to below, in the opera catacombs, as he had previously. After two failed starts writing the basic premise, Webber finally spoke to British published comic writer and performer, Ben Elton, who “unlocked the story.” Webber’s “very story-driven” and couldn’t compose or begin the plot before getting the story just right. Webber knows his original will be a “tough act to follow.” He’s extremely nervous, but also “very proud of” his new piece and looks forward to seeing it on stage. The show’s lyricist, Glenn Slater, wrote for the theatrical production of The Little Mermaid earning a Grammy nomination. Legendary Broadway director, Jack O’Brien, will be directing. O’Brien won Tony awards for the Broadway productions of Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia, Hairspray and the 2004 production of Henry IV. Sierra Boggess will create the role of Christine, after debuting on Broadway as Ariel in The Little Mermaid receiving both Drama League and Drama Desk nominations. She was hand picked by Webber in 2007 to play “Christine” in Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular. Ramin Karimloo will play The Phantom, already having received acclaim for playing the lead in London productions. He’s played Raoul before and made a cameo appearance in Schumacher’s film version of the play as Christine’s Father, making him the only actor to ever play all three of Christine’s loves. Webber wanted to get the casting “completely right” before touring which is why an official album is already recorded. It’s never been done before. If it tours the globe quickly, as Webber wishes, that too will stand as a unique, new trend. Webber hopes this promising cast and crew bodes for a show that tops his last beloved, masterpiece. The story has richer character depth, but still revolves around obsession, intrigue and The Phantom’s torture, pining after his true love, proving love never dies. The world premiere is March 9, 2010 in London, followed by New York, November 11. To pre-order the official album, purchase tickets and find out more, visit the official website, LoveNeverDies.com.