webber-a-l-cp-4822504

Theatre producer Andrew Lloyd Webber is behind such blockbuster musicals as Cats, The Phantom of the Opera and Evita. ((Nathan Strange/Associated Press))

The Phantom of the Opera — one of the world's most recognizable and longest-running musicals — has a sequel in the works, creator Andrew Lloyd Webber says.

In an interview with London's Times newspaper, the British composer and theatre impresario said his sequel, Phantom: Love Never Dies, should be ready by the end of 2009.

He is eyeing a simultaneous opening for the new production on three continents: in New York, in London and in a major Asian capital.

"We've been into the feasibility of rehearsing three companies at once and opening very fast in the three territories," Lloyd Webber told the paper.

"The one which really interests me would be China. I think to open Love Never Dies in Shanghai would be an enormous thing."

For the new production, Lloyd Webber has switched locales from the bowels of the Paris Opera to New York's Coney Island. The sequel is also set about a decade after the original, which was based on the early 20th century story by French writer Gaston Leroux.

Since its 1986 debut, Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera has been seen by millions of people in more than 100 countries around the globe.

With files from the Associated Press