Cast: Shannon's New Phantom, More Love LeadsDate: 9 November 2009
From tonight (9 November 2009), David Shannon is the new Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre. He takes over from Ramin Karimloo, who begins preparations to continue the Phantom’s story in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical Love Never Dies, which receives its world premiere on 9 March 2010 (previews from 20 February) at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre, prior to opening on Broadway next November and in Australia in 2011 (See News, 8 Oct 2009).
The Phantom of the Opera celebrated its 23rd birthday at Her Majesty’s theatre on 9 October 2008. In 1999, it was named the 20th century's most successful money-making show, dwarfing even blockbuster Hollywood films like Titanic at the box office. In December 2004, Lloyd Webber released the £55 million big screen version, directed by Joel Schumacher.
Worldwide, the stage version has now been seen in 144 cities in 27 countries, played to over 100 million people, grossed over £1.7 billion and won 50 major awards, including three Oliviers in London. The production is directed by Harold Prince and produced by Mackintosh and the Really Useful Group. It’s currently booking until February 2011.
David Shannon was recently seen as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. His other West End musical credits include Lloyd Webber’s The Beautiful Game, Whistle Down the Wind and Cats as well as Martin Guerre and Miss Saigon. The current Phantom cast also features Gina Beck (as Christine), Simon Bailey (Raoul), Barry James (Monsieur Firmin), Gareth Snook (Monsieur André), Rohan Tickell (Piangi) and, having joined the company in September, Rebecca Locke (Carlotta), Nicky Adams (Madame Giry), Emma Harris (Meg Giry) and Tabitha Webb (Christine at certain performances).
Meanwhile, more principal casting has been revealed for Love Never Dies. In addition to Karimloo, Sierra Boggess as Christine and Summer Strallen as Meg Giry, according to media reports, the company will feature Liz Robertson as Madame Giry and Joseph Millson as Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny.
Love Never Dies is set in 1907, ten years after the conclusion of the original story. The Phantom has escaped to New York with Madame and Meg Giry and found success in the fairgrounds of Coney Island as a magician and entertainer. When he builds a new opera house, he persuades his old ingenue Christine Daae, now a huge star and married to her old flame Raoul, to sing for him once more...
Summer Strallen is a three-time Whatsonstage.com Award nominee - for The Boy Friend (Newcomer of the Year), The Drowsy Chaperone (Best Actress in a Musical) and The Sound of Music (Best Takeover) – and became a household name after taking over, via a Hollyoaks plotline, from Connie Fisher as Maria in the last.
Liz Robertson has previously played Madame Giry in the West End production of Phantom, while her other credits include My Fair Lady, Stepping Out, Peter Pan and, most recently, Velma von Tussle in Hairspray.
Love Never Dies will mark the West End musical debut for Joseph Millson, who’s best known for his play credits at the Royal Shakespeare Company, National, Almeida and elsewhere, including this year Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Judgment Day and, opening later this month at the Royal Court, The Priory.
The new musical, which has a score by Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Glenn Slater, is directed by Jack O'Brien and designed by Bob Crowley, with choreography by Jerry Mitchell and lighting by Paule Constable.
From next March, on two days every week – Tuesdays and Saturdays – it will be possible to follow the whole Phantom story in a single day by catching the 2.30pm matinee of The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s then dashing over to the Strand for the 7.30pm evening performance of Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre.