The Phantom of the Opera announces new casting

Long running musical The Phantom of the Opera has announced major casting changes for the production which is currently running at the Her Majesty's Theatre, where it is currently booking into 2016.

From 7 September 2015 John Owen-Jones will return to the role of 'The Phantom' having most recently played the part in the UK tour. He has played the role more times than any other actor in the West End production's history, and was the first British actor to play 'The Phantom' on both the West End and Broadway. Owen-Jones will remain in the production until 30 January 2016.

It has also been announced that Ben Forster will succeed the role, beginning performances on 1 February 2016. Having shot to fame following his success winning the ITV show 'Superstar' - Andrew Lloyd Webber's TV talent search for 'Jesus' in 'Jesus Christ Superstar', his other West End credits include playing 'Magaldi' in 'Evita' at the Dominion Theatre. Foster will join the company following a West End run as 'Buddy' in 'Elf The Musical at the Dominion Theatre this Christmas.

From 7 September 2015, the full cast will include Celinde Schoenmaker as 'Christine Daaé', Nadim Naaman as 'Raoul', Michael Matus as 'Monsieur Firmin' and Christopher Dickins as 'Monsieur André'.

Continuing in their roles are Lara Martins as 'Carlotta', Jacinta Mulcahy as 'Madame Giry', John Ellis as 'Piangi' and Alicia Beck as 'Meg'. Emmi Christensson will continue as the alternate 'Christine Daaé' until June 2016 when Lisa-Anne Wood takes over the role.

The ensemble from 7 September 2015 will include: Zoe Arshamian, Charlotte Baptie, Kieran Brown, Scott Davies, Hadrian Delacey, Meshell Dillon, Lyndsey Gardiner, Ryan Goscinski, Philip Griffiths, Keith Higham, Lizzie Holmes, Lily Howes, Daisy Hulbert, Ellen Jackson, Tim Laurenti, Rhidian Marc, Leo Miles, Tim Morgan, Fiona Morley, Paul Morrissey, Richard Munday, Joanna O'Hare, Simon Rackley, Danielle Stephens, Ashley Stillburn, Claire Tilling, Charlotte Vaughan, Georgia Ware and Lisa-Anne Wood.

The Phantom of the Opera has been playing in London since 1986. It has been seen in 124 cities in 25 countries and played to over 100 million people. Worldwide, the musical has grossed over £1.7 billion.

The musical is directed by Harold Prince and features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart. Based on the novel by Gaston Leroux this haunting musical traces the tragic love story of a beautiful opera singer and a young composer shamed by his physical appearance into a shadowy existence beneath the majestic Opera Paris House.

The show has won 70 major theatre awards, including seven Tony’s on Broadway and three Olivier Awards in the West End. It won the ‘Most Popular Musical Audience Award’, voted by the public, in the 2002 Laurence Olivier Awards.

The Phantom of the Opera originally opened on 9 October 1986, following previews from 27 Sep. The show is currently booking at the Her Majesty's Theatre until 26 March 2016.

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