The Phantom Of The Opera has been making audiences weep, scream and applaud with all their might for over 33 years now. With some immense talent required to belt out those songs, the Phantom Phandom (we’re not sorry) all have a favourite masked man. In case you were Wishing They Were Somehow Here Again, we thought we’d check out what some of our favourite Phantom Of The Opera actors are up to now.
Michael Crawford was the original phantom back in 1986. Anecdotally, Michael was offered the part after Andrew Lloyd Webber and his then wife Sarah Brightman arrived early for her singing lesson and happened to overhear the end of the previous students lesson. Intrigued, they tracked down the owner of the voice and called him in for an audition. The rest is musical history!
With two and a half years under his belt, over 1,300 performances, an Olivier Award, a Tony Award and a presidential performance, Michael Crawford achieved a lot as the first Phantom! He was one of the guests of honour – alongside some of the other biggest Phantom Of The Opera actors – at Phantom’s 30th anniversary gala back in 2016.
Since then, he’s been acting on and off the stage, originating the role of the Wizard in Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice’s The Wizard Of Oz at the London Palladium in 2011; reprising 70s sit-com Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em in 2016 for a special sport relief charity episode and starring in the new West End musical The Go-Between at the Apollo Theatre in May 2016.
At the age of 77, he shows no signs of quitting the stage and last year appeared in the 60th anniversary performance of Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde as the voice of God.
After winning ITV’s reality TV competition Superstar in 2012, Ben Forster stepped up to don the infamous mask in 2016. His next turn in musical theatre wasn’t so lucky as in 2018, he came off a ladder during a performance of Elf The Musical, breaking his ankle, and was unable to finish the run.
All healed up now, he’s now showcasing his voice all around the world. Having performed his first UK solo show – Me, Myself & Musicals – at Theatre Royal Haymarket in June this year, he announced the formation of a new musical theatre supergroup The Cardinals alongside Carrie Hope Fletcher, Celinde Shoenmaker and another ex-Phantom, Ramin Karimloo. While they’ve yet to announce any official gigs past their surprise performance back in June and an appearance at BBC Proms In The Park in September, musical theatre fans are hanging on the edge of their seats.
Ben also recently announced he would be singing alongside other former Phantoms John Owen-Jones and Earl Carpenter as well as Kerry Ellis and Anna O’Byrne in Japan next March with The Voices Of The West End 2020.
At only 28, Ramin was the youngest ever Phantom on the West End. In another piece of Phantom history, in 2010 he originated the role of the Phantom in Love Never Dies – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s official sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera.
Since then, Ramin has popped up in musicals both sides of the pond, including Evita, Chess, Anastasia, Parade and the 2014 Broadway revival of Les Miserables, which gained him a Tony nomination. He reprised the role of the Phantom in May last year in a series of The Phantom Of The Opera concerts in Seoul alongside Anna O’Byrne.
In January this year, Ramin made the leap from the stage to the small screen when he was cast as cardiothoracic surgeon Kian Madani in Holby City. He’s not hung up his musical boots yet though, and played Doctor Zhivago in the UK premiere of Doctor Zhivago The Musical at Cadogan Hall this September alongside Celinde Schoenmaker.
Peter Polycarpou has had a long and varied career. He played the Phantom back in 1991, while he was also starring in BBC sitcom Birds Of A Feather. Since then, he’s been belting out showtunes all over the place, including Oklahoma!, The Secret Garden, Sweeny Todd, Guys And Dolls.
You’ll have caught him on the small screen too, as he’s appeared in British classics EastEnders, The Bill, Casualty, Holby City and Waking The Dead. He’s even done voice work for the James Bond 007: Bloodstone and Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows video games.
This year he appeared in a 3-episode arc of Sky Atlantic series Riviera as well as dusting off his vocal pipes to play Sancho in Man Of La Mancha opposite Kelsey Garmmer as Cerval for the English National Opera at the London Coliseum. He also played Boris Bereszovsky in the critically acclaimed A Very Expensive Poison at the Old Vic, a play from Lucy Prebble about the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko and the fall-out from his death.
Playing the masked anti-hero for 3 and a half years and nearly 1,400 performances, John Owen-Jones was the longest running West End Phantom, and one of the most prolific Phantom Of The Opera actors of all time. A Les Mis and Phantom veteran, John has been appearing in productions, concerts and musical celebrations of the two since the early noughties, and was a special guest at both of the shows’ 25th anniversary concert events.
As well as appearing in non-musical and musical theatre throughout the years, John has written and released several albums that include songs from musicals, hymns and traditional Welsh language songs. His recent albums include Unmasked, Rise and Spotlight, which came out this year. We were lucky enough to catch some of Spotlight in John’s West End Live performance this year.
After 33 years, The Phantom Of The Opera is still going strong at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Currently starring Josh Piterman, Kelly Mathieson, Danny Whitehead and Britt Lenting, you can book your tickets to the classic tale of romance and heartbreak below.