Wednesday, May 9, 2018

LOVE NEVER DIES - US Tour 2018 - Review! Seattle, WA 5/8/18

Love Never Dies

Broadway At The Paramount

The Paramount Theatre
Seattle, WA

(runs through Sunday 5/13/18)

All Photos by Joan Marcus


Eclectic Arts has always strived to bring as many different artistic endeavors to the readers as possible.  Musical theater, an area that has been untouched outside of fan-attended performances over the years, is now front and center. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Love Never Dies" has been inspiring audiences everywhere on its inaugural U.S. tour.  Gardar Thor Cortes and Meghan Picerno cast as the Phantom and Christine Daae respectively, with an ensemble of talent throughout the production, really hit the mark in more ways than one with this dazzling musical.

***if you want to go into your performance fresh with no plot details - stop reading right now***

Basically a sequel to the mega-hit, "Phantom Of The Opera", "Love Never Dies" sees the Phantom escape to Coney Island in New York, after his beloved opera house mysteriously burns to the ground in Paris.

Christine and Raoul are now married - with a son Gustave.  Christine has become a well-known star of the theater.  The family ventures to New York as part of the new Oscar Hammerstein production.  Meanwhile, the Phantom still yearns for Christine and plots a way to get her to sing again for him in New York.

It is inevitable that a sequel of any kind will get compared to the original - fair or unfair.  "Love Never Dies" takes the more simplistic approach of the original musical and adds dark layers to the story line. 

The Phantom and Christine characters are exposed and explored to much greater depth than the original musical.  Of course tragedy must occur which it does toward the end of the production.  That is a spoiler I won't reveal.

The signature pieces, "'Til I Hear You Sing", "Beneath a Moonless Sky", and, "Love Never Dies" were performed with achingly beautiful precision by Gardar and Meghan. 

Gardar's Phantom is one of strength and vulnerability.  His performance gained momentum as the show progressed, showcasing his strong vocal abilities.

Meghan's Christine stole the show.  Her operatic prowess really stood out throughout the performance.  Others in attendance raved about her afterward and deservingly so.  Her voice was strong, nuanced, and emotionally provocative.  She was perfectly cast as the now grown up woman, mother, and wife known as Christine Daae.  

Gustave, played by Jake Heston Miller, was another stand out in the cast.  You couldn't help but perk up and take notice any time he was on the stage.  His pristine vocals and emotive acting really made you believe that he also sings with the angels of music.

Sean Thompson (Raoul), Mary Michael Patterson (Meg Giry), and Karen Mason (Madame Giry) completed the known characters from the original story.  There were no weak links in any of the performances, far from it.

The cast as a whole was as top notch as you would expect.  The material they had to work with felt, at times, dated instead of universal or timeless.  But, many kudos to the casting department for a job well done.

The production - large and lavish in its scale, never over powered the performances - which it easily could have as it was absolutely stunning.  From the Coney Island circus set to the many shifting interior and exterior sets, visually the show was flawless.

Some in the media have criticized the storyline but to those in attendance Tuesday night, the audience was gleefully swept away to Andrew Lloyd Webber's world once more.

I left the Paramount Theatre satisfied, with the vivid imagery and songs dancing in my head as I walked into the night.

"Love Never Dies" delivers a dark, longing, and striking experience that will stay with you long after you've left the theater. 

"Love Never Dies" runs through May 13th in Seattle at the Paramount Theatre and then continues to Portland, OR from May 15-May 20th before heading out east at the end of May.

Kind regards,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks: Julie for setting everything up - the interview, the show credentials, everything - thank you so much for the opportunity!  Also, thank you to Brittany for assisting the day of the show as well.  It was a pleasure meeting you both!

Video Interview with Meghan Picerno ("Christine Daae"):

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