Part 2 of "How to fix Love Never Dies," is just for fun. The read part one, click here. In my mind I've created a vision/my idea for a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera should be. This is based solely on my knowledge of story structure, and how to create effective sequels.
Things to bear in mind:
1) I've not written any musicals.
2) I have not seen Love Never Dies.
3) This is one idea, and not the only way to rewrite Love Never Dies in a successful way.
4) Not to to be intended as fan-fiction.
MY NARRATIVE VISION FOR A PHANTOM SEQUEL:
"Love Never Dies"
The curtain rises 10 years after The Phantom of the Opera, Christine and Raoul, and their 10 year old son Gustave are living in America, retired from their former lives. It is late one night when Christine is alone and she receives a mysterious letter through the door, but no one is outside. For a moment, she thinks, (and the audience thinks too) it could be from the Phantom. She has been thinking about him, and living in fear of him, for years; that he might find her one day. She stares at herself in the mirror... but nothing happens. When she opens the letter, she learns (it's not from the Phantom), that the owners of the Paris Opera House are beseeching her and Raoul to return to France because the Paris Opera is in some sort of trouble. Christine is very, very reluctant, because she fled Paris to escape the clutches of the Phantom.
They take a big Titanic-esque steam ship across the Atlantic, and in the middle of the night Christine looks out over the foggy ocean. Gustave approaches her and asks her where they are going. Christine explains that she is returning because, “something very bad happened a long time ago.” She tells him to go to bed. She stands alone, looking over the ship at the black ocean. For a moment, she swears, she and the audience can hear a voice echoing in the darkness, singing, “Angle of Music." Did she imagine it? She returns to her cabin.
Paris is revealed, not the Paris Christine and Raoul remember, but a city of electric lights! The Eiffel Tower is a new installation since they left, with electric lights. They meet at the Paris Opera. The Opera has fallen under disrepair, and bad economic times. They notice signs that say, “Under Forclosure.” They meet the two managers, Moncharmin and Richard, who had invited them. They explain that there is a bad man, an evil man, who is closing down the Opera, and hasa permit for demolition. They meet the man, Mr. Dumart. Because no one is seeing the Opera, he has the power to acquire the property and turn it into a military installation (or something). The two owners warn that if Mr. Dumart imposes anymore, that "The Phantom" will find a “permanent solution” to the problem. Mr. Dumart laughs at their threats, stating that the stories of the “Phantom of the Opera” are old ghost stories. Christine and Raoul try to urge the man that The Phantom is/was real, and is very dangerous when threatened. They find a mysterious letter from the Phantom that says (something to the effect of), “I am the Phantom, this is my opera house, and if you close this Opera, very bad things will happen…” Mr Dumart laughs, and rips up the letter. The moment he does so, a gargoyle falls of the building and almost hits Mr. Dumart. He ignores that it could be the Phantom, and says, "This building needs to come down, its falling apart."
Later, the two managers Moncharmin and Richard, explain that they have been posing as the Phantom and writing those phony letters, and pushing over gargoyles, to try and scare off Mr. Dumart. The truth is, they haven’t heard from or seen any sign of the Phantom for years. Moncharmin and Richard urge Christine to find the Phantom and beseech his help in saving the Opera House. Raoul is immediately appalled, but Christine eventually obliges. They’re only clue to finding the Phantom is to start by contacting Madame Giry and see what she knows. The trouble is, she’s gotten quite old. When they visit her at her house, her daughter Meg is taking care of her, and Madam Giry on her death bed.
Meg and Christine are old friends, they have a moment for exposition. Madam Giry is very weak looking, but is able to speak. She sings a song, and right before she dies, she admits that the Phantom is in America, at Coney Island.
Christine, Raoul and Gustave go to Coney Island to search for the Phantom. They discover "Phantasma" (stupid name), and the freakshow, and everything. The ask around, but no one seems to know about a man who wears a mask or is disfigured. Raoul asks how they are ever supposed to find one man hiding in such a huge place. Christine replies, “he will find me. “ They then hear a woman's voice singing an old french tune, “Think of me…” They follow the voice to a small Opera house where a young woman is singing. They ask her who taught her that song. Since it is very old and French. The girl won’t admit where she learned it.
Raoul takes Gustave back to the Hotel. Christine is alone in the Opera house, and eventually she hears the Phantom sing, “I am the Angel of Music...” He reveals himself in a spooky way. Christine urges the Phantom to return to Paris to save the Opera house, and he refuses. Has he finally given up on Christine? He claims he has a new life, and a new pupil. Christine asks, "What can I do to make you return?" He says, "Sing for me one last time.” He sings (a rewritten) "Til I hear you sing once more." However, Christine refuses, and says 'no deal' to the whole operation. The Phantom understands, but gives Christine a gift. She opens it. It is an Opera, which he says is “His masterpiece.” She thanks him and exits. The Phantom sings a “Til I hear you Sing once more” reprise.
When Raoul and Christine return to Opera House in Paris, the place is being overrun by military men and policemen. Are they too late? Mr. Dumart has begun to setup new operations there. They find out that Carlotta, the old Opera diva, is throwing a benefit party for the Opera at her Mansion on the River Seine. At the Party, they find Moncharmin and Richard meeting in a small back room, with Carlotta, drunk, toasting the end of their careers. Christine suggests that they all put on one final Opera, so as to prove that the Opera is still alive and well, and to fill the place. Carlotta disapproves and hates Christine. But Christine asks Carlotta to direct it and Choreograph. Then she obliges. Christine says she has new Opera, and when she herself returns to the stage it will be sensational.
Mr. Dumart refuses to let them perform an opera, but a loop-hole in the law says that the managers have until the end of the month to prove they can fill the house and make the opera popular again, and gain revenue. Mr. Dumart’s hands are tied. They go into rehearsal immediately.
Days later, Christine sings, “Love never dies” in rehearsal, and suddenly everyone knows the Phantom has written it, so everyone is weary. They begin to whisper, will the Phantom return? And will he be bad or good? As Christine sing "Love Never Dies" there is a scenic transition and now its Opening night and the Opera is in full production. The house is packed and throws roses onstage for Christine. Mr Dumart is lurking from the Phantom’s box seat. He is not happy. He exits the box.
Backstage, Raoul is grabbed from behind by police guards. They pull him out of the theatre, and into the street, then shove him into a barred police cart. Mr. Dumart appears and tells him he is under arrest for the unsolved murders that occurred at the theatre 10 years prior. He has a warrant for his arrest. Mr. Dumart interrogates him, “Where is the Phantom? Where is the Phantom?” Raoul knows nothing. Mr. Dumart admits that bringing Christine to the Opera was a trap to catch the Phantom, someone who Mr Dumart loathes, because his brother was Joseph Buquet (who was murdered in The Phantom of the Opera). With Raoul out of the picture, Christine is unprotected bait.
Meanwhile, in Christine’s Dressing room. Everyone begins to wonder where Raoul is. Then... The Phantom returns! Christine accuses him of kidnapping Raoul, and demands to know what he's done with him. The Phantom insists it is not him. Then the Phantom meets Gustave; the Phantom and Gustave have a moment of curiousity with each other. But suddenly the Phantom snaps! He kidnaps Gustave! Christine goes to chase after him, but she is arrested by Mr. Dumart's guards. Mr Dumart enters. “After him!” he shouts, but it's too late, the Phantom has disappeared. Mr. Dumart is not happy. They are able to chase the Phantom back to the docks, where they realize the Phantom has escaped on a boat. He leaves a rose on the last pillar of the dock. Mr. Dumart throws the rose on the ground and stomps on it in fury. He tells Christine that he will release Raoul and turn over the Opera house again if she agrees to help him capture the Phantom. She argues for the Phantom, saying he’s not violent and that he’s changed... he just loves her. But still, she makes the deal with Mr. Dumart to get her son back and Raoul.
They chase the Phantom back across the Atlantic, back to Coney Island. The guards order Christine to find the Phantom, and they go through a series of fun-house trap doors chasing after him until they get to the Phantom’s lair.... A Giant Electric mechanical place where the Phantom is playing Organ music. She demands to see her son, and the son is dressed up as a toy doll and singing. The Phantom says, “He should have been mine!” She tries to convince him to turn himself in, and he will save Raoul, and the Opera, and that he will have redemption. He will be a good man... The Phantom pauses, then laughs.
Mr. Dumart appears and reveals himself for who he really is. He is not the brother of the man who was murdered. He is not trying to capture the Phantom, he has been working with the Phantom all along! It was all a ploy to get Christine, and Mr Dumart to capture Raoul, and the Opera house, a mutual understanding. The Phantom reveals behind a wall, a captured Raoul who is going to be killed in some mechanical manner. But then Gustave speaks, “Papa!” The Phantom cries. Raoul breaks free, and fights Mr. Dumart! Suddnely, The Phantom lunges and kills Mr. Dumart. Chrsitine releases Gustave, and suddenly it's Chrsiting, Raoul, and Gustave, on one side, and The Phantom on the other. Christine urges the Phantom to turn himself in and he will be redeemed, and he will find peace.
Guards find their way in and surround the Phantom. He gets down on his knees. They throw the Phantom into a barred police cart. and they threaten the gallows against him. The Phantom's head is sticking out the back of the cart, and the officers pull of his mask, and laugh at him. Christine shouts to him that he is a good person. The Guards laugh, "He's in love with the girl! Ha ha ha." Chrsitine and the Phantom sing a brief, but interrupted duet, as the cart is pulled offstage. The Phantom is gone But Suddenly...there is a horse whinny, and a commotion. The cart has been burst opened! The Phantom flashes and appears at the top of the proscenium! (with mask)! The music builds, he waves his cape, and disappears. The curtain falls.
"LOVE NEVER DIES"
Reasons why a sequel like this works:
1) The Phantom is still mysterious, barely visible, and although there is a new villain in Mr. Dumart, the Phantom turns into the ultimate villain again, and defeats him. Still, the Phantom eventually has a moment to turn good, and gets redemption. The phantom is a mystery, is he good? Is he bad? There are moments of each. It lives up to his characterization in the original.
2) All the old characters are used even if briefly, to see what has happened to them.
3) Old song themes and melodies are used in tandem with the new music.
4) Still very large spectacle, magic tricks, and mystery.
5) New locations, and old locations.
6) The Phantom's mask is torn off again at the end of this production to reveal his hideous scar. It is brief, and not exploited. The guards do it to harass the Phantom, but the Phantom escapes in the end. A great way to keep that surprise of the first musical. Only now, the audience will have to wait the entire show, to get a glimpse again.