Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies will make its premiere at The Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, November 7 – 19 and The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, November 21 – 26, as part of a North American Tour.

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.”

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.

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.

It was a pleasure to sit down with Sean Thompson (Raoul) for this exclusive Hotspots Interview.

SeanThompson

At what age did you begin singing/acting?

I always was doing plays in grade school…Christmas plays, etc. so acting was always sort of there. I fell in love with Musical Theater because I loved the movies like Grease and Rocky Horror Picture Show. My High School was casting for Jekyll and Hyde and I decided to try out for it when I was a sophomore and the rest is history.

What was your first Professional/Paid gig?

My friend’s mom runs a children’s theater company in Delaware county Pennsylvania called “Stages of Imagination,” and they needed someone to fill in for 3 performances during their run of the play “Three Moons for Tomorrow,” and she hired me. I got paid $60 a show, so I made $180.

Other than this show, what role has been your favorite to play and why?

Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard, as I have played him a few times in different theaters and I love it. He is a very interesting character and he is the quintessential Film Noir, and a flawed character. The last time I played him it was opposite Glen Close…so that itself, was AMAZING!

What’s your fantasy role?

The Phantom in the Phantom of the Opera. Need I say more?

Is there a lot of pressure stepping in to the character of Raoul?

I am the first to do it in “Love Never Dies” in America, so it’s a bit freeing. I think it would be more pressure if I was stepping into Phantom.

But there is pressure because I am such a big fan of Phantom, and also because Raoul 10 years later is a very flawed character. I have to take him from a loving character to a flawed character. In my performance, I need to explain how he has gotten to this bad place, and there is definitely pressure in doing that.

Phantom is so iconic, how does Love Never Dies differ or does it?

Storytelling wise, the original is dealing with heroes and villains. This show humanizes the characters. We even delve in the Phantoms humanity.

What should the Florida audiences expect out of this touring company of Love Never Dies?

A lot! Within the principle cast you have an opera star form Iceland, and a very well-known Broadway star: Karen Mason. Expect the unexpected. It’s the kind of production that is spectacular: the sets, the lights and costumes are amazing. And on top of it all you have a new glorious score by Andrew Webber. Andrew Lloyd Webber told me himself that may be his favorite score he has ever written.

For more information about Sean catch him on Instagram.com/oneseanthompson.

Tickets for Love Never Dies, which start at $34.25 are available at the Dr. Phillips Center Box Office, or by going to DrPhillipsCenter.org or The Broward Center.

For more information, please visit www.loveneverdies.com.