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Who has played The Phantom in 'The Phantom of the Opera' in London?

Discover some of the best actors to have previously played the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s The Phantom of the Opera.

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

The Phantom of the Opera is the second-longest running musical in London. Millions of theatregoers have been transported to Paris Opera House via Her Majesty's Theatre. We take a look back at some of the greatest actors to have previously played the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s The Phantom of the Opera. Discover more about “the music of the night” with The Phantom of the Opera in London.

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Killian Donnelly

Donnelly first starred in The Phantom of the Opera in the early 2010s as Raoul. A decade later, Donelly returned to The Phantom of the Opera in the title role. He originally played the Phantom in the musical's UK tour, however the show was cancelled after 13 performances due to the pandemic. See Killian Donnelly in The Phantom of the Opera.

Michael Crawford

Having originated the role of the Phantom at Her Majesty’s Theatre, there’s a timeless quality to Michael Crawford’s performance.. Winning an Olivier Award for best actor in a musical, Crawford starred opposite Sarah Brightman as Christine Daae for two years, and won the Olivier for best actor in a musical. After his London performances, he reprised the role on Broadway. As well as his Phantom credit, Crawford’s appeared in West End productions including The Woman in White and The Wizard of Oz.

Ramin Karimloo

Ramin Karimloo’s history with The Phantom of the Opera stretches over two decades, taking over the role of Raoul for a 12-month engagement. Leaving the company to play Enjolras in Les Miserables, Karimloo made his debut as the titular character in 2006, staying in the role until 2009. His West End career has seen him originate the Phantom in Love Never Dies, winning an Olivier Award for best actor in a musical, as well as starring in the musical’s 25th anniversary production.

John Owen-Jones

Did you know that John Owen-Jones has played the Phantom for more performances than anyone in British history? After a continuous run of nearly 1,400 performances in the 2000s, he later reprised the role for a four month engagement in 2015. He’s also starred in Les Miserables as Jean Valjean and a concert production of Show Boat at the Royal Albert Hall.

Simon Bowman

After originating the role of Chris in Miss Saigon at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Bowman moved a few streets down the road to star in the operatic musical from September 1994. Taking over the role of Raoul, Bowman later made his Phantom debut in April 1996, appearing as part of the musical’s coveted 10th anniversary celebrations alongside original members Crawford and Sarah Brightman.

Peter Polycarpou

He’s starred in a number of London’s greatest musicals, including Miss Saigon, Oklahoma! and Sweeney Todd, but did you know that Peter Polycarpou has played the Phantom? Taking over the role in 1991, the British born Greek-Cypriot actor sung alongside Shona Lindsay in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. In recent years, Polycarpou has returned to operatic productions such as Man of La Mancha at the London Coliseum.

Ben Forster

After winning a nationwide televised competition to play Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, Forster continued his theatre career by playing the Phantom in 2016. It’s not the first time he’s appeared in a Lloyd Webber musical, previously in Evita at the Dominion Theatre.

Tim Howar

Canadian singer and songwriter Tim Howar is best known as one sixth of rock group Mike and the Mechanics, however he’s built up a theatre CV any budding actor would dream of. Making his London debut at the turn of the century, he’s performed in Peggy Sue Got Married, Tonight’s the Night and On The Town. In recent years, he’s starred in Rock of Ages as Stacee Jaxx and Chess at the London Coliseum. Even though he’s not played the Phantom for long, we’re enjoying his unique, raspy take on the role.

David Thaxton

Perhaps best known for his acclaimed performances in Les Miserables and Passion, David Thaxton has also played the Phantom in 2019. Like Ramin Karimloo, Thaxton’s no stranger to the characters in The Phantom of the Opera, having appeared in the original cast of Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre.

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