In an incident with echoes from the plot of The Phantom of the Opera, there was high drama this weekend during the final dress rehearsal for Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hugely anticipated sequel to the Phantom blockbuster. After coming down with a fever, Sierra Boggess, who stars as Christine, was forced to withdraw from the private performance on Saturday 20 February 2010, which was originally due to be the production’s first public preview (See News, 15 Feb 2010).

Boggess’ understudy Celia Graham stepped in at short notice and, despite not yet having a costume (she performed in a white underskirt), she so impressed that Lloyd Webber, the show’s director Jack O'Brien and other members of the creative team and crew watching gave her a standing ovation, according to the Daily Mail. Nevertheless, Boggess is expected to be back on stage for the first public performance tonight (22 February 2010) at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre, ahead of the new musical’s official opening on 9 March.

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. Ramin Karimloo stars as the Phantom.

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