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Andrew Lloyd Webber Doing "Phantom" Sequel

British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber promotes his new production "Love Never Dies" at a theater in London, Oct. 8, 2009.
AP Photo/Matt Dunham
Andrew Lloyd Webber announced Thursday that he has written and will soon stage a sequel to his theater blockbuster, "Phantom of the Opera."

CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reports, even Webber himself admits it's a crazy idea.

The concept is that the Phantom leaves Paris and ends up in New York.

The other idea: There's still money to be made from the Phantom brand.

"Are you mad to try to replicate this?" Phillips asked the theater superstar.

"Probably," was Webber's initial, candid response. "But I really wanted to write the story. Everything about musicals for me comes from the story, and my successful musicals have been pretty story driven."

"I always felt that there was something about the original Phantom that was unfinished business," said Webber.

The idea is the same one that's behind every sequel. Cash-in on the success of the original. But the success of this original is like no other.

Phantom calls itself, simply, the most successful musical of all time. Perhaps the most successful entertainment venture ever.

It's been seen by an estimated 80 million people and has had 65,000 performances in 25 countries. It has grossed - according to its producers - a whopping $5 billion dollars. There are currently eight productions running around the world.

"Isn't there a risk?" asked Phillips. "You've had this unprecedented success, 80 million people, 25 countries, all the numbers - isn't there a risk in trying to repeat this or carry it forward, of not doing as well, of failing?"

"Yes, of course," replied Weber. "But if you think of a show in those terms, its going to fail."

"I thought, this is a fantastic story and I really, really want to write it. All I can do is do my best as a composer," Webber added.

If anybody knows how to write hits, it's Andrew Lloyd Webber. The sequel, called "Love Never Dies," opens in London next spring, New York in November 2010, and presumably in the rest of the world shortly after that.
  • Mark Phillips

    Mark Phillips is CBS News senior foreign correspondent, based in London.