[ how Love Never Dies came to be ]

“Okay, so I’ve been thinking about the sequel to Phantom—”

“Wait, what sequel to Phantom?”

“The one I’m working on. It’s great, you’re going to love it! So the Phantom is now at Coney Island.”

“Why Coney Island?”

“Because it’s cool, and that’s where his freak show is.”

“… the Phantom owns a freak show?”

“Yeah.”

“Even thought he was once humiliated and defiled by being featured IN a freak show?”

“Yeah.”

“And that doesn’t bother him at all?”

“No, because he treats his freaks nice.”

“… because he’s so nice to everyone?”

“Shut up and listen. So, he decides to con Christine into coming to Coney Island to sing in his freak show by pretending that Hammerstein wants her to sing for him.”

“How old was Hammerstein at the time?”

“Does it matter?”

“So they get there and Christine now has a kid. Raoul has also lost all his money at the gaming tables.”

“Why would he do that?”

“Huh?”

“I said, WHY would a nice, albeit stupid, guy like Raoul gamble that much? Doesn’t he love Christine? Isn’t she enough for him? Isn’t she all he ever wanted? What would make him so miserable and unhappy as to become a drunken gambler?”

“I didn’t mention the drinking, but that works too. It’s because the kid isn’t his.”

“Wait, when did that happen?”

“The night before the wedding.”

“WHAT?? HOW?”

“What do you mean how? Christine found the Phantom the night before the wedding and they made crazy, sweet love, and he was so ashamed the next morning that he ran away.”

“… he was ashamed. Of what?”

“Of… taking advantage of her?”

“So the Phantom took her virtue and then ran off, because he’s a jerk that way.”

“No, no, trust me, the girls will love this, it plays up to that tortured soul crap they love so much. Anyway…”

“So Raoul knows the twerp isn’t his kid?”

“Well, no.”

“But he suspects the twerp isn’t his kid?”

“No, not really.”

“Then why is he drinking and gambling, again?”

“BECAUSE THAT’S HOW THE PLOT GOES, OKAY?? So they reach Coney Island, and are distressed to find out the Phantom has lured them there. And Meg is ticked off about it.”

“Wait, Meg is there?”

“Yes, and her mother, too.”

“Why?”

“Because they are helping Erik with his freak show.”

“… I thought Madame Giry was afraid of the Phantom. Now she’s working for him again?”

“Yeah, she felt sorry for him.”

“Because it’s so easy to feel sorry for someone who strangles stagehands and kidnaps people and strings up opera singers?”

“Will you stop being so logical about everything?! Madame Giry is looking after Meg, who has a crush on Erik…”

“Wait, a crush? Where did the crush come from?”

“It was always there, in subtext. You didn’t notice?”

“No… but it makes perfect sense that she would have a crush on a deranged madman living in a sewer.”

“What’s wrong? You look constipated.”

“I’m just processing this fabulous plot of yours. Go on.”

“Okay, so, Meg is kind of jealous of Christine, who is kind of freaked out that Phantom is there, since she thought he was dead and stuff…”

“… wait, wha—nevermind.”

“She doesn’t want to sing in his freak show, so he tells her he’ll drop the kid off the pier if she doesn’t.”

“But of course, he won’t since he figures out the kid is his.”

“How?”

“The kid’s musical.”

“And he couldn’t have gotten that from his mother who is, you know, a famous opera singer?”

“… no. He’s a composer. He likes the freak show, and the weird stuff. Christine agrees to sing. Meg is sad that Phantom is ignoring her. Her mother is pissed off that the kid is going to inherit the entire freak show, because it’s such a great thing to inherit that she wants it. Raoul is so sad that he gambles on whether or not he can get Christine to leave with him on the boat.”

“…he bets on whether or not he can get his own wife to leave with him? Geez, and I thought loudly proclaiming to the entire theater company how he was going to catch the Phantom, in the Phantom’s own theater, was stupid.”

“It’s a great song, you’ll love it. Also, Erik gets to slam him into the bar a few times. So anyway, Christine sings and Raoul leaves and then they can’t find the kid, because Meg took him and intends to throw him off the pier. But Erik talks her out of it, and is about to talk her out of blowing out her own brains—”

“Why would Erik care? She kidnapped his kid. Why isn’t he ripping her throat out?”

“Because he knows what it feels like to be rejected! It all works fine, until he mentions Christine… then the gun goes off.”

“Let me guess: it hits Christine.”

“Yup.”

“And THAT’S when the Phantom rips Meg’s throat out?”

“No, she runs away with Madame Giry. Phantom cradles Christine in his arms and they sing goodbye. Everyone cries. Christine dies. The kid comforts his father. The end.”

“… really?”

“Why, what’s wrong with it?”

“It doesn’t sound like fan fiction to you?”

“Huh?”

“Like really bad fan fiction?”

“No! It sounds like that wonderful book that someone wrote.”

“The one you inspired him to write? The one you collaborated with him on? The one the Phans arranged a book burning for? That wonderful book?”

“What’s wrong with it?”

“Nothing. It’s all great. Go for it. I’m sure the Phans will… eh.”