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Friday, March 14, 2014

An Open Letter to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber

Dear Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber,

I woke last night thinking of you.  (Not in that way, sir, though I am sure you are very nice.)

No, I woke up a little, well, cheesed off at you, if you'll pardon my language.

Why?  Well, that's a bit of a mystery to me, too, though I know it has to do with your sequel to Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies.  Quite frankly sir, it was rubbish.

I have no idea why, years after my beloved husband took me to see it in the West End in London, it would suddenly pop back into my head. . .let alone at night. . .and make me feel the very self-same way I did when I walked out of that theatre. . .delicious expectation ruined and slightly violated.

Clearly, I haven't quite forgiven you.

Phantom was a masterpiece.  The story, the characters and OH! the music. . .blended so exquisitely it almost hurts to watch a good production of it.  Masterful.  Stunningly masterful.

So you'll excuse me for high expectations when it came to the sequel. . .you were so much more experienced. . .you had so much more time invested. . .and you are so. Dang. Good.  Surely I can be forgiven for expecting, at least, something good.

But it wasn't. Not only was the new story difficult to swallow on its own, but by distorting the character of the principles, you have robbed us of the joy we felt in knowing them in Phantom.  In one fell swoop, you have destroyed TWO productions for me.

Seriously, though I know you were fighting cancer at the time (and we are grateful you beat it!), your twisting of the original story and subsequent denigration of characters we have come to know and love and trust, was devastating.

I don't know why Raul had to turn from a noble gentleman into a drunken loser, or why you had to make Christine a two timer muddled with 'love' and attraction for her twisted abuser, nor why your ending had to be so ridiculous and contrived.

And it didn't have to be that way.

It would have been SO EASY to make every principle character (the Phantom, Christine, Raul, and new little Gustave) believable, consistent with their Phantom personas, and completely sympathetic even within the midst of their tragic flaws.

And the ending?  It could have been perfection. . .the Phantom putting Christine in an impossible position where she must sing for her son, Raul manipulated into thinking it was her choosing the Phantom over him and nobly leaving her to what sh thinks is her true desire, and the Phantom, as always, orchestrating it all for his own sick pleasure.

It could have been exquisite.  It still could be if you contact me for a brief conversation.  I really hope you will, too.

I could use some sleep.

(image courtesy of www.publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)

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