Theatre Review: ‘Love Never Dies’ at Shea’s Buffalo Theatre

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The National Touring Cast of “Love Never Dies.”

This has been the season of Andrew Lloyd Webber in Buffalo. Three of his shows have visited Shea’s this season alone (“School of Rock”, “The Phantom of the Opera”, and now “Love Never Dies”). Two other of his shows were performed by local theatre companies this season too (Jesus Christ Superstar and Joesph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). It might be said that Buffalo has a little obsession this year. I just recently began to appreciate the work of ALW, and I am happy to have had a season that was so full of his wonderful work. “Love Never Dies” just adds to that new obsession.

If you love “The Phantom of the Opera” your love will never die for this sequel! (See what I did there?) Go see this show!

“Love Never Dies” continues the story of “The Phantom of the Opera”, and takes place ten years later, moving the story from Paris to New York City, where Christine (Meghan Picerno) is now a very well known soprano. Christine and Raoul (Sean Thompson) have been married, but the relationship is not going the way that they had expected. Tensions rise when The Phantom (Bronson Norris Murphy) finds his lost true love, and draws her to his new residence at Coney Island, where he has been living since leaving Paris. The Phantom tries once again to win Christine’s love, but at what expense is he willing to pay?

Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with book contributions by Glenn Slater, Glen Elton, and

Frederick Forsyth, the show has gone through a bit of a rough patch, having not gotten the greatest reviews by critics on the West End. The show went through a revamp in Melbourne, having gained a cult following when a staged DVD recording began being sold. This retooling of the show has proved to be beneficial, since the show is selling very well wherever it travels.

Starring in the role of Christine, Meghan Picerno has pipes of steel, as she delivers her wonderful voice through the theater. Picerno shows that her character has grown during the last ten years, and is no longer the naive Christine that we all once knew. Picerno is a perfect choice for this role and does not disappoint.

Sean Thompson brings a tough exterior to Raoul, who since we last saw him is now a compulsive gambler, and a bit of an alcoholic. Thompson has a great presence on stage during his scenes, and his voice too, rings wonderfully through the theatre.

Bronson Norris Murphy takes on the role of The Phantom, and makes it his own. He is a powerhouse, and right from the beginning of the show, he proves his worth in a character that has been played by dozens of people before him.

Gabriela Tylesova’s costume and set design are spectacular and truly takes on a role of it’s own. I was blown away by the aesthetically pleasing designs that brought the story to life. Everywhere you look, you will be astonished by the grandeur.

Overall, this show was an awesome production. The quality of entertainment that was presented in ‘Love Never Dies” truly rivals the original “Phantom” with one small problem. The script. While the show is very enjoyable, there are story issues that come out of nowhere, the b-plot given to Meg Giry in this story, for example. Out of left field we are told that she is unhappy that the Phantom is ignoring her talents at Coney Island, and then, she acts on this frustration. There is very little build in her story, and it is a little off putting, but that is easily forgiven due to the caliber of the show.

If you love “The Phantom of the Opera” your love will never die for this sequel! (See what I did there?) Go see this show!

Running Time: 2 Hours 25 Minutes with one 15-minute intermission.

“Love Never Dies” runs until June 10, 2018 and is presented at Shea’s Buffalo Theatre. For more information, click here.

Support Local Theatre By Supporting Our People in Need

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Support a worthy cause while you enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime performance.

On Friday, June 8, at 11pm, members of the national touring company of LOVE NEVER DIES will partner with Alleyway Theatre to present LATE NIGHT WITH THE CAST, a benefit concert to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and for the WNED/WBFO Artie Awards effort to benefit Erie County Medical Center’s HIV/AIDS and Immunodeficiency Services.

LATE NIGHT WITH THE CAST will feature members of the cast of the national touring company of LOVE NEVER DIES singing songs from musicals and performers that inspired them to become a performer.

“We’ve decided on tributes to the performances that have inspired us. So each of us is going to sing something from a show or by a particular performer that have shaped who each of us is as an artist,” said LOVE NEVER DIES cast member Adam Soniak.

Set to appear are Karen Mason (Broadway’s MAMMA MIA!, HAIRSPRAY, SUNSET BOULEVARD), Correy West (Broadway’s NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT, SOUTH PACIFIC), Lucas John Thompson (Broadway’s CATS), Sean Thompson (Broadway’s SUNSET BOULEVARD), and more!

Selections will include music from SMASH, DREAMGIRLS, MAN OF LA MANCHA, THE LITTLE MERMAID, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, and NATASHA PIERRE AND THE GREAT COMET OF 1812.

Alleyway Theatre is thrilled to build on the success of April’s PHANTOM UNMASKED benefit.  “When cast members of LOVER NEVER DIES contacted Alleyway Theatre Associate Artistic Director Chris J Handley about doing another benefit, we responded with an immediate yes.  We’re looking forward to another very special performance and are proud to serve such worthy causes” said Joyce Stilson, Alleyway’s Director of Public Relations.

Alleyway Theatre (672 Main St, Buffalo) will open the doors to the Main Street Cabaret at 10:30pm and the performance will begin at 11pm. Seating is limited and your kind donation of $25 (or more) is appreciated. Visit www.alleyway.com for details and to make tour donation to reserve your seat.

ECMCʼs HIV/AIDS and Immunodeficiency services are the largest comprehensive care center of its kind in Western New York. The hospital’s immunodeficiency clinic is also a PCMH Level 3 Certified Clinic.  The Immunodeficiency Services group strives to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS with physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, nurses, case managers, nutritional consultants, drug counselors, and mental health counselors on staff and also through partnerships with a myriad of community agencies.

In providing care, ECMC’s Immunodeficiency Services group aims to meet several important goals:

  • Improving quality of life for HIV-positive patients through early intervention and optimal care.
  • Providing HIV/AIDS clinical education and consultation to providers.
  • Offer advocacy and case management services for HIV/AIDS patients.
  • Establish HIV prevention as a top priority.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and the Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts. Broadway Cares also awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, DC, providing lifesaving medication, healthy meals, counseling and emergency assistance.

For more information, please visit Broadway Cares online at broadwaycares.org, at facebook.com/BCEFA, at instagram.com/BCEFA, at twitter.com/BCEFA and at youtube.com/BCEFA.