Phantom of Opera sequel opens amid "phan" disquiet

Tue Mar 9, 2010 7:29am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - The sequel to "Phantom of the Opera", one of the biggest musicals of all time, opens in London on Tuesday amid disquiet among die-hard "phans" who have been posting opinions online since previews began two weeks ago.

Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber was sufficiently worried about the internet chatter -- much of it negative -- to criticize it in a recent newspaper interview, although he remained confident that "Love Never Dies" would have a happy ending.

The main forum for debate has been the website of theater publication What's On Stage.

Over 850 messages have been posted since February 22, when "Steve 10086" described the musical as "boring". Not all of the contributions have been negative, however, and many authors had not been to see the show.

The West End Whingers' blog retitled the show "Paint Never Dries".

Lloyd Webber, who recently underwent treatment for prostate cancer, described those already attacking the new production as belonging to a "sad culture" of people "who live only by the old Phantom of the Opera."

On the musical's own website, one blogger summed up the mood among many "phans": "Not great, well there will never be anything as good as Phantom, that's for sure!

"I went in with an open mind but felt like I was watching a rough cut of the actual thing."   Continued...

<p>English composer Andrew Lloyd Webber attends a news conference ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest final in Moscow May 15, 2009. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin</p>