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Gerard Butler joins stars at grand opening of Andrew Lloyd Webber's new 'Phantom'

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Hollywood star Gerard, who played the Phantom in the film version of Phantom of the Opera, joined in the opening night excitement in London
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 Photo: © Getty Images

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Andrew Lloyd Webber takes a bow with his cast as the audience give a standing ovation
 Photo: © Rex

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Terry Wogan caught up with his Radio Two successor Chris Evans at the unveiling
 Photo: © Rex

10 MARCH 2010

It's been 13 years in the making, and this week Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera follow-up, Love Never Dies, finally received it's world premiere.

Excitement was high at the first performance, which took place at London's Adelphi Theatre. A number of stars – including Hollywood actors Gerard Butler and Michael Caine - were amongst the opening night audience.

And the man behind the new musical was supported by his family – current wife Madelaine and their children Alastair, 17, 16-year-old William, and 13-year-old daughter Isabella. His grown-up daughter Imogen, 32, from his first marriage was also there.

Other famous faces in attendance included Terry Wogan, who was spotted having a friendly chat with his Radio Two successor Chris Evans.

Love Never Dies, which features West End stars Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo in the main roles of Christine and the Phantom, is set ten years on from the events of the original show.

Having moved from Paris, the Phantom has found success as a magician and entertainer in the fairgrounds of Coney Island, Manhattan. But he cannot forget his love for Christine, and when he builds a new opera house, he invites her to come and sing at it.

She accepts and journeys to New York with her husband Raoul and their son, not knowing who is really behind the invitation.

The show opened to mixed reviews from critics, but a standing ovation from the audience. A thrilled Lord Lloyd-Webber, who has recently battled back to health from prostate cancer, took to the stage to take a final bow with his cast.

He can take solace in the knowledge that the original wasn't an instant hit with reviewers when it opened 23 years ago. But that didn't stop it from going on to take £3.3 billion at the box office – a figure which continues to rise.

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