BRINGING YOU THE BEST IN ROMANCE FICTION
The romance between Christine Daae and Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera never quite felt right to me. For some reason I always wanted her to forget about Raoul, embrace the Phantom’s disabilities, and love his dark soul. Maybe it’s because I was fortunate enough to watch the stage play with the original cast. Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman had such a sexual chemistry. Michael’s voice captivated me and had me dreaming of an alt ending. One where the Phantom would carry Christine off into the labyrinth to live a life of mystery together. If only she gave him a chance, he would do anything and everything for her.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s, Love Never Dies, answers the call for all of us romance lovers who are on team Phantom. The story begins when Christine, her husband Raoul (boo!), and their son arrive in New York. She’s been booked for a singing gig at Coney Island, but doesn’t know the Phantom is the one who’s hired her. As the family gets settled, we see just what kind of scoundrel Raoul is. Living in the shadow of Christine’s great talent, he’s fallen into a drunken, penniless state. He’d gamble or drink his way to destruction if it weren’t for Christine’s gift paying the way. Her success eats at him, but he’s not man enough to make something of himself.
This is the Raoul I always knew was there. He’s so caught up in the idea of Christine and owning her that he can’t live with himself. Envy, greed, and self-destruction is his goal. And with him, he may drag his family into the gutter.
Enter the Phantom and his troop of carnival performers. Madame Giry and Meg (who were so scared of the Phantom in the first musical) are now working for him and loathe the return of the “perfect” Christine. Meg has the lead role, you see, and now that Christine is back, she has no chance.
But I get ahead of myself. Before all the chips fall, there is an interlude between Phantom and Christine in which they confirm there had been something going on between them all those years ago. Phantom was not just some crazy, schizoid, stalker, but her lover! Duh…duh…duh. Big shocker, right? In the most sexually-charged scene I’ve ever seen on stage, Phantom and Christine reminisce about their “one night” together. “Again and then again, beneath the moonless sky,” they sing. And Christine says she loved him, but we also find out the Phantom left her right after because, “You know why,” he says. Presumably the little matter of the cops coming after him for killing those people.
And then comes my favorite scene. The showdown between Phantom and Raoul. I’ve watched this clip too many times to count, it’s just the greatest thing ever. Finally, Phantom gets to put Raoul in his place. This is where we see the true man against man. Raoul is stinking drunk, and yet again gambling–this time with Christine’s life, as if it were his to gamble away—and all he can say against the Phantom is… “You’re hideous…what woman would ever choose you over me?” Well pretty boy, you’re going to find out! Oh yeah, and just to seal the deal, Phantom shakes his confidence to the core with a revelation I absolutely love.
Raoul: We’ve a son, our bond’s secure.
Phantom: Are you sure?
Raoul: What do you mean?
Phantom: Such a child. Talented, musical. Is he more, you or me?
Raoul: You lie! No woman could, or ever would!
Wanna bet Raoul? Your pretty-boy status doesn’t automatically wet all of our knickers, friend. Some of us look for a man with substance, character. Sure, he’s killed a few people, but that was years ago.
If you are a Phantom fan and have not seen Love Never Dies, you must! You can watch all of the play on YouTube, buy the DVD on Amazon, or watch live play, which is touring North America this year and into 2018. Check the city tour dates list for a location near you.