Thursday, October 8, 2009

Love Never Dies - A Strong Opinion

As most of you probably know, announcements have flooded the media recently regarding Andrew Lloyd Webber's pending sequel to the Phantom of the Opera. The show is slated to be released in March of 2010 in London and November of 2010 in New York City. As we stand on the verge of its release, I see a war brewing on the horizon among fans, and it breaks my heart.

I am constantly amazed over how this story elicits such strong emotions from individuals. The three camps of Phantom lovers, only to mention a few (Leroux, the stage play, and the 2004 movie), are drawing lines in the sand and opinionated battles have begun over the need for continuing the story on stage.

There are those who are vehemently opposed to the curtain going up. The trial has begun, but there's no "innocent" here until proven "guilty." Those who hate it, have pronounced their verdict even before the jury (the audience) has been shown all the evidence. Then there are fans who can't wait to see the next creation of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and no doubt already have their ticket in hand and are counting the days until release.

If you don't know how I feel about the impending sequel, I've already written a blog regarding my feelings. To recap, I look at it this way. He took Leroux's book, adapted it to the stage, and immortalized the genius of music in a musical. The Phantom of the Opera, by Andrew Lloyd Webber, is his creation. He gave it to audiences to enjoy, and for over 20 plus years, we have reveled in its beauty and sung its haunting musical score.

The last time I looked it says, © Copyright The Really Useful Group Ltd. The Phantom of the Opera on stage is Webber's creation, and he has the right to do with it as he pleases. We don't own the story, we merely use it to touch our hearts, and it has gone around the world to more than 100 million individuals.

What concerns me the most regarding the sequel, is not the release on stage or the continuation of the story. It is the division among the fan base across the globe. I see arguments rising on networking sites, forums, boards, etc. The entire matter is cause for alarm, as far as I'm concerned. We are fighting among ourselves, alienating one another personally, and causing a riff in the fan base, which may never heal. I guess you could say, "there's a disturbance in the lair."

Let's agree to disagree, but let's express our opinions respectfully. The one thing that should bind us together, is the love of the story. Why should we divide ourselves over Love Never Dies? I'd like to think our love of the story will never die, or the camaraderie we find with other fans around the world.

As the months progress and the public draws closer to seeing the new production, let's step back and focus on the center of what it's all about - the guy in the mask. Like him, you want to be able to remove your mask, reveal who you are, and find acceptance. It's no different in the lair of fans. The Phantom of the Opera is a story of unconditional love and acceptance, "All I wanted was to be loved for myself."

I encourage each of you, when another takes his mask off and gives his honest opinion regarding Love Never Dies, try not to rant and rave when you disagree with him. Go light a candle of peace in the lair instead. I'm sure Erik would appreciate it.

As always, your thought provoking....
Phantom's Student

PS...Below is a clip of one of the songs and here is a link to the official website for Love Never Dies.


Swansong said...

I am a peace keeper by nature and always try to see the balance of things, because in that balance, peace can often be found. I'm a lover of the Phantom story in its many incarnations over the years, and although I saw the stage show first, starring MC, the film moved me in ways I was not expecting and still can't explain. The Phantom story is an art form, and art at its best can change a person's perspective on many things. The 2004 film literally changed my life.

I have never been part of the harder core Phantom fandoms, and did not even discover on-line fandom until the 2004 film, so I gravitated to the GB sites and became friends with many other GB and Phantom friends. Honestly, when I joined facebook, I had no idea people were so connected in the opposing camps, and I often feel I don't belong in the community of fans because of my love for the movie.

I guess for me, I love the character of the Phantom so much, that I am very open minded to other interpretations of him. I love when someone has a new vision of the story, and when another artist's vision adds something new the Phantom's tale, I find that exciting.

One thing I will never understand is why people disrespect one another because of a difference of opinion, and I also find the blatant disrespect toward Andrew Lloyd Webber very disheartening...after all, it was his vision (along with Hal Prince) that brought us the beautiful original. The sequel may not live up to the original, perhaps ALW's best work is indeed behind him, but maybe he still has some genius left to share with the world. I'd like to think so.

Anonymous said...

Aw, don't worry! There have always been divisions within the fandom. People who love the stage show and don't like the 2004 movie, people who only like the 2004 movie, Lerouxists, pro-Susan Kay, anti-Susan Kay, people who prefer one Phantom, Christine, or Raoul over any other ever, and people who argue over different 'ships.

I think this kind of buzz is to be expected whenever anything new happens. There will be people who like the sequel and people who don't, but the story and the love will go on.

Teresa said...

I remember the uproar when it was announced that a movie was about to be made, too. I was astonished at the hate that was directed toward it.

We all have free will and the wonderful freedom to form our own opinions. I just wish people could understand that their vehement words, bad language, and name calling will never change another's opinions. In fact, people stop listening to them at some point.

I love the story in many forms, and will continue to do so regardless of what anyone else thinks.

Debbi said...

I whole heartily agree with Swansong. When I first discovered Erik in the 2004 movie, I was moved to find out more. I found the on-line community as well. It was there that I saw all the different camps. Kind of reminded me of high school and cliques, which I never fit into.

So I took my search for all things Erik to Google. I have found some wonderful sites, and tons of information. It is through these searches that my love for the man behind the mask continues to grow.

I doubt I will ever belong to just one camp. There is too much to be learned to close ones mind to all that there is to know.

I am giddy with excitement to see where Erik will take me next!

Tièr said...

Wonderful post and clip! Thank you...

I'm looking forward to ALW's latest. I believe he has used his God-given talents to touch us with this tale.

God bless you.

Lady Brainsample said...

I gave you a Kreativ blogger award here

Thanks again for such an awesome blog!

Louise said...

As many of Musicals lovers I LOVE the Phantom of the Opera! It is my favourite ever... Last year I’ve been in NY & I tried to get my ticket …guess what everything was sold out that show how great the show is. Anyhow I end up getting it from a site through Next week I’m going to visit my sister and I just got some pretty good tix from the same place
So I'll be analyzing as well as enjoying the show.

That Girl in the Phantom Costume said...

I can't say that I'm a big phan of the IDEA of a sequel. In my opinion, the story ended beautifully and did not call for any continuation. The Phantom isn't supposed to get the girl. That's the entire point. I hate what this sequel has done to our phan world. As if we didn't have enough issues with difference of opinion (with all the different versions I mean). And what about the characters? How is turning Raoul into a raging alcholic going to make people stop bashing him. Not to mention the fact that Erik is going to persue Christine again despite everythign that's happened. It really upsets me.

Now, just because I throughly dislike the idea of sequel, doesn't mean that I'll hate it when it releases. There's nothing we can do to stop it now so we might as well try to embrace it. Does this mean that I'll become a die-hard phan of it? Probably not. For now, I'm keeping my expectations low.

Anonymous said...

The Phantom of the opera has won my heart as well as the hearts of many others. The ending was absolutely the perfct way to end this masterpeice. It is mysterious and sad and has the ability to touch the hearts of many.
When I first heard about the sequal a while back, I ignored it, assuming it was just a rumor. However, after it was announced, and the plot exposed, I leaned towards the group against it. I was appalled! It sounded like a silly fan fiction! The characters are so different from their original roles in the original phantom of the opera- I'm not even sure it should be a sequal! Not to mention, the man that directed Hairspray is attatched to this play. I also really hope this doesn't mean an end to the phantom of the opera...

rhapsody said...

I'm looking forward to it - although I agree it will be hard to top the movie and musical...

And, may I recommend an excellent continuation to Erik's story:

Deception: A Phantom of the Opera Novel, by Shirley Yoshinaka.

God bless you.

StePHANie said...

What a level headed Phantom Phan you are!
Here's my unmasking...
LOVE NEVER DIES is a fantastic piece, thrilling and I loved the take on what happened to the characters after the original. Sure, the story isn't quite sound but the music is as sumptuous as ever. Beautiful...

Christine B. said...

The 2004 movie version captured my heart. After that I was determined to read the book. It took two attempts for me to finish it, but in my senior year of highschool I found the time to read in through.
I have heard some of the music, and I love it.

There are a couple things that bother me about the play itself, such as the book that is associated with.

But I think the thing that bothers me the most is Erik involved with a freak show. I don't see how it adds up.

A friend of mine tried to convince me that since he knew what freak shows were like, having been in one as a kid, he would make it a better enviorment for those working for him. I'm still not convinced. Once bitten, twice shy, right?