Saturday, February 17, 2018

REVIEW: America's Sweetheart Stalker Returns in LOVE NEVER DIES at CADILLAC PALACE THEATRE 3/4/18


On my way to opening night of Love Never Dies in Chicago, my social media tweets were met with an instant reply:

I was intrigued. In nearly a decade of reviewing theatre I've never heard of a show with it's own hate group! It seemed like a lot of energy to put into dissing a show. After seeing Love Never Dies, I'm not quite ready to join up, but I do concede they have a point.

On the positive side, the score was lovely, and the show was cast well. Meghan Picerno as ‘Christine Daaé,’ Karen Mason as ‘Madame Giry,’ Sean Thompson as ‘Raoul,’ Mary Michael Patterson as ‘Meg Giry,’ and Casey Lyons and Jake Heston Miller sharing the role of ‘Gustave’ were all standouts. There were some lovely moments between mother and child and between the boy and the phantom. We adore circus and the macabre, so I was excited to see this production based on the photos. The costumes and freak show concepts were visually fun, but the set was fairly simplistic for a Broadway touring show, and the circus arts were minimal. 

On the down side, Christine needs a #metoo moment. The phantom, though not actively murderous in this production, is still a disturbing character. I found the original Phantom problematic as a great romantic figure since he's a mass murdering, stalker who lurked around, spying into women's dressing rooms without their knowledge and ultimately kidnapped Christine. This is criminal, not passionate, endearing behavior to be revered. 

In Love Never Dies, the phantom outdoes himself by kidnapping Christine's entire family, threatening to harm her 10 year old son if she doesn't sing, and tricking her husband into abandoning her. This is on top of his usual tricks of lurking behind dressing room mirrors spying on Christine, locking her in rooms, dominating and bullying her. If this is idealized as romantic love, our culture is doomed.

This production fails the Bechdel test, which asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man, miserably. Despite being a highly successful, world famous opera singer, Christine's entire existence and lyrics revolve around the phantom, her son, and her husband, in that order. 

Furthermore, the plot does contradict the closing scene of the original Phantom, which may bother super fans. The storyline also seems contrived and unbelievably convoluted. The best we can give this one is a somewhat recommended.

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


FEB. 14th  through MAR. 4, 2018

Broadway In Chicago and Andrew Lloyd Webber's LOVE NEVER DIES are delighted to announce that LOVE NEVER DIES will play Chicago for the very first time in a limited three-week engagement at Broadway In Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W. Randolph) February 14 through March 4, 2018.

Broadway In Chicago and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s LOVE NEVER DIES are delighted to announce the spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, will play Chicago for the very first time in a limited three-week engagement at Broadway In Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W. Randolph) February 14 through March 4, 2018.

Direct from the highly successful production of LOVE NEVER DIES in Hamburg, Germany, Gardar Thor Cortes will portray the man behind the mask, ‘The Phantom,’ with Meghan Picerno as ‘Christine Daaé,’ Karen Mason as ‘Madame Giry,’ Sean Thompson as ‘Raoul,’ Mary Michael Patterson as ‘Meg Giry,’ and Casey Lyons and Jake Heston Miller sharing the role of ‘Gustave.’ The trio of Phantom’s henchmen include Katrina Kemp as ‘Fleck,’ Richard Koons as ‘Squelch,’ Stephen Petrovich as ‘Gangle,’ Gardar Thor Cortes is appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association. The Producers gratefully acknowledge Actors' Equity Association for its assistance of this production.

The ensemble includes Chelsey Arce, Erin Chupinsky, Diana DiMarzio, Tyler Donahue, Yesy Garcia, Alyssa Giannetti, Michael Gillis, Tamar Greene, Natalia Lepore Hagan, Lauren Lukacek, Alyssa McAnany, Rachel Anne Moore, Bronson Norris Murphy, Dave Schoonover, Adam Soniak, John Swapshire IV, Kelly Swint, Lucas John Thompson, Correy West and Arthur Wise.

LOVE NEVER DIES is a dazzling new production, which takes audiences on a thrilling rollercoaster ride of intrigue, obsession and romance. Audiences will be seduced by the beautiful; sometimes magical and poetic; sometimes joyful; and occasionally melancholic score. Don’t miss this magnificent continuation of one of the world’s greatest love stories. The new touring production reflects an extensive re-working of the material by an Australian creative team for the original Australian premiere in 2011. Described by Chris Boyd in The Australian as “The best thing Lloyd Webber has written in the quarter century since The Phantom of the Opera”.

Directed by Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical) with new set and costume designs by Gabriela Tylesova, choreography by 2011 Astaire Awards winner Graeme Murphy, lighting design by Nick Schlieper and sound design by Mick Potter, the show is one of the few instances of a major West End musical being given a complete makeover for subsequent productions.
Lloyd Webber said he knew about five minutes into seeing its first run-through that he and the new production team had achieved something special. “I have the great joy of being able to say that I think this production is probably the finest one I could ever, ever hope for.”

LOVE NEVER DIES features music by the legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater, book by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton, additional lyrics by Charles Hart, and orchestrations by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris Opera House and The Phantom has escaped to a new life in New York where he lives amongst the screaming joy rides and freak shows of Coney Island. In this new, electrically charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar, but he has never stopped yearning for his one true love and musical protégée, Christine Daaé.

Now one of the world’s finest sopranos, Christine accepts an invitation to travel from Paris to New York to perform at a renowned opera house. Christine's marriage to Raoul is suffering at the hands of his drinking and gambling and they desperately need the financial rewards that America can give them.

In a final bid to win back Christine’s love, The Phantom lures her, Raoul, and their young son Gustave, from Manhattan to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island - not knowing what is in store for them.

Since its premiere in 2010, LOVE NEVER DIES has enjoyed productions worldwide in London, Australia, Denmark, Japan and Germany, as well as multiple recordings including a concept album and a London cast recording. A DVD release of the Australian production has delighted fans globally, and now the North American tour brings the musical to the US for the first time.
For more information, please visit

Tuesdays at 7:30PM
Wednesdays at 2:00PM & 7:30PM
Thursdays at 7:30PM
Fridays at 7:30PM
Saturdays at 2:00PM & 8:00PM
Sundays at 2:00PM
*No matinee on Wed., Feb.14
*Additional matinee on Thurs., Feb. 15 & evening performance on Sun., Feb. 18

Individual tickets for LOVE NEVER DIES at the Cadillac Palace Theatre will go on sale Friday, Dec. 8 and range from $35-$100 with a select number of premium seats available. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.  Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000 and online at  

Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 17 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country.  A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining well up to 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago's Loop including the Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre, Oriental Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place and presenting Broadway shows at The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.

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