Its fans have Twilight-like devotion to the characters, and it may be the most successful - i.e. profitable - show business franchise of all time. Now Phantom of the Opera is getting ready for its next act.
Creator/composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced that Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo will star in his Phantom sequel, Love Never Dies, which will premiere in London's Adelphi Theatre next Spring.
Lloyd Webber made international superstars out of his then-wife Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford when they took to the stage in the Original Phantom in 1986. Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum played the leads in the far-less successful 2004 film rendition of the story. The musical continues to play in cities big and small around the US.
"Sierra and Ramin will open in London early next year and then go to New York in the autumn of 2010," Lloyd Webber said, adding that there will be an album out too, "hopefully before Christmas." Touring companies will hit other cities worldwide in 2011.
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