Hubris unmasked: Love Never Dies reaches the point of no return

So, the West End incarnation of ‘Love Never Dies’ has announced its forthcoming closure.  The perfect cue for the normally sensible Mark Shenton to throw his toys out of the pram (again) over the ‘Love Should Die’ website, which has supposedly had a hand in the commercial failure of this sequel to Phantom of the Opera.

Yet surely the wonder is not that the production has closed, but that it has run for so long.  Last month, a report in the Daily Mail revealed that the show was losing money, with investors becoming impatient with the continued running of the show, whilst Lloyd Webber clung to the recently opened Melbourne production for some hope of yet another new ‘improved’ version.  Meanwhile, the production was being subsidised by Lloyd Webber’s company the Really Useful Group.  We have to ask at this point, to what extent has ‘Love Never Dies’ been a form of vanity theatre-making?  How long would a completely independent theatre have allowed it to run?

Why should we care?  Because a failing production which is being propped up by vanity is a missed opportunity for another better quality show (we’d have been happy with a longer run of Craig Revel-Horwood’s wonderful reworking of Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard, for example). 

It has been commented that one of the reasons that ‘Phantom of the Opera’ was such a great work was because of its apparent autobiographical elements, in particular his love for Sarah Brightman.  The more you look at it, the more similarities you can find between Lloyd Webber and the Phantom.  The Phantom likes to send letters ‘of a most amiable nature’ to those whom he seeks to control; so it would seem do the Really Useful Group.  Lloyd Webber has often spoken of this desire to nurture the talent of young women; so does the Phantom.  And the Phantom uses his position of power at ‘his’ Opera House to get his work put on.  Sound familiar?  Both have a little trouble letting go…..

Piers Morgan in his TV show wondered why Andrew Lloyd Webber, with the amount of talent and success he has had, has failed to become a National Treasure, a topic we have touched on ourselves.  It shouldn’t surprise us: he just seems incapable of showing the humility and sense of connection with his audiences that would make him a bit more likeable.  This is the man who despises some of his own fans because they inconveniently choose to prefer one of his works over another – we should remember that the ‘Love Should Die’ campaign was a reaction to Lloyd Webber’s arrogant attitude and the feeling that he took his fans for granted.

Nobody killed off this show.  Even the famous ‘Paint Never Dries’ artwork from the West End Whingers became famous because it was endlessly circulated – they obviously struck a chord.  And people seem to be getting tired of the endless excuses.

As for the Love Should Die website finally being shut down as Mark Shenton seems to assume will happen – we hope not.  Of all the sources of information, this is the best place to try to find out what went wrong.  Some may not like the opinions expressed, but it is still a very comprehensive record, with numerous external links and references, of this interesting period in Musical Theatre history.  It is more important than ever that the website stays up as an archive, because this is a piece of history that we have no doubt Lloyd Webber will be wanting to re-write as quickly as possible.

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7 Responses to Hubris unmasked: Love Never Dies reaches the point of no return

  1. David says:

    Completely agree! I have lost a lot of respect for Mr Shenton, whose opinions I normally tend to agree with, over this.

    ALW DOES like to rewrite history an enormous amount and for some reason the press often buy this and choose to ignore his contradictions. It is about time they are evidenced in permanent form to demonstrate the weakness of his sham PR.


  2. Jade says:

    [moderated due to being personal and offensive] ALW owes us nothing – tis us who love his music that owe him.
    And because one faction (a small but vocal one) don’t like a piece of his work does not give them the right to openly besmirch that piece of work or its creator.
    Why do they detest Shenton? Because he didn’t surcome to the thousands of press releases LSD made and he spoke out against them and their tactics.
    Bravo Mr Shenton!!!


  3. gemmy says:

    i think you used Love Should Dies’s information so much in this post.And please,if you want to write about the show,at least finding reliable sources to base on.and anyways,I don’t think Love Never Dies is “a failing production “,it’s nominated and won 2 WOS awards and its Australian production is a SUCCESS,if you want proves,check some reviews about the show on its page or some reliable reviewers’s pages.And to me Love Never Dies hasn’t reached “the point of no return” yet.


    • rageoffstage says:

      Hi Gemmy, we suggest you look again at the official Love Never Dies website. You will find highly editted quotes from selected reviews, some of them shamelessly taken out of context, a topic we have covered here before. As with most commercial websites, Andrew Lloyd Webber would not dream of publishing the full reviews which are mixed at best. If you want to read the full reviews, you will have to search for them separately, or you can go to the Love Should Die website, where most are published in full with links to the original source. So who is unreliable? If you have found any inaccuracies in our post or the links from our various sources, please point them out.


  4. LNDFan says:

    LSD is only a small portion of the phandom. And a pathetic one. Do you people know other shows facing such a campaing? it’s not a group of people who dislike LND: it’s a pathetic campaing to close a show. No other show has had to face something like that.
    LND UK closed because of the crisis: hell, Chicago has closed as well in the West End. Betty Blue Eyes, Priscilla….. That’s the main reason. But LSD sure helped.
    I dislike shows like Legally Blonde or Wicked. I ignore them. They don’t do any harm, either to me or the shows I love. Despite what LSD’rs say, LND does not harm POTO: last time I watched POTO the show was the same as always. Don’t like the sequel? Ignore it. The “sequel destroy the original characters”, “It smears the integrity of the original”…..hum…welll…seems like some hardcore POTO fans have a problem. I am a HUGE Sherlockian. I mean, a fan of the Doyle’s writings with Holmes as a main character. The Robert Downey JR movie is a horror: nothing to do with Holmes, and it’s a bloody joke of a movie. BUT I don’t take it personally. I just ignore the movie. Yes, if someone asks me I’ll tell what I think about that travesty of a movie. But I will never start a b****y campaign against the movie. Why? Because that movie is not an offense against me or against the Holmesian canon: Doyle’s writings are still there, the movie hasn’t done them any harm. If there are people that like the movie, the better for them: they are happy seeing the movie, and I’m happy reading the canon and watching Brett and Cushing and Cumberbatch. I don’t try to close the Downet JR saga (they are doing other movie), and they have never tried to get the canon out of print. They enjoy what they like, I enjoy what I like, and no harm. BUT….LSD seems to think they own the original POTO and that they have the right to decide what kind of sequels or versions can be done. And therefore, they feel they have the right to make whatever they can to see LND closed. Even a b****y campaign. Merchandising and the like. I only join campaigns that support CAUSES that I strongly support. And that’s the thing, for LSD this is a cause: LND was felt like a personal attack. ALW, the creator of the original stage productions, made a sequel. A sequel which didn’t fit with what LSD’rs wanted, and with how they understood POTO’s story and characters. ALW has the right to write whatever he wants. And they have all the right to dislike it. But making a campaing to close the show is another thing (funnily enough….they keep on saying that they didn’t want to close the show, poor fool he makes laugh ha ha ha): it’s to say “We have the right to decide what can be done with this story and what not”. And it’s rude to all the people who loves the show. Wonder what would they say if POTO were to close…..partially because of a group that had made a campaign against POTO. And after the closing, they were celebrating it on their FB page (go watch LSD’s wall). Oh, worst: they consider that if you are a LND fan…you’re not a phan ” . During the last 16 months, several media sources have now acknowledged that passionate devotees of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA are either against or are at least extremely skeptical of LOVE NEVER DIES” And that comes from an official LSD statement. Oh, and if they love POTO so much…why do they call the man that created it Lord Bonkers?
    Enough about them.

    I still have hopes for LND to got to Broadway, and come back to London. The UK production was great. But the aussie production has the WOW factor that POTO has. The changes in the lyrics have improved the show. And AU got an awesome cast. It’s bounded to be a hit and to be exported.


  5. Pingback: So much for the Olympic spirit – Andrew Lloyd Webber throws away the baton for team West End theatre | rageoffstage

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