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Anthony Warlow to return as the Phantom of the Opera

Fifteen years after donning the mask as the world's youngest Erik, Anthony Warlow will return to the show that made him a household name (in Australia at least).

I suspect his run will be quite short, two or three months perhaps, in line with the length of all of his theatrical engagements since he became famous. But it'll be worth it. There has never been a better sounding Phantom anywhere in the world, past, present or future, and now - at 45 - that he is of an age to be a plausible father figure to Christine, the show could actually work better dramatically than it did in 1990/91.

Back then, Warlow's Phantom was too virile, too overpoweringly sexy to make a believable foil for Raoul (no offense to Dale Burridge who had the unenviable task of facing off against him every night), and of course the implied parental overtones didn't come across at all, despite what it might say in the libretto. The show worked better once Rob Guest took over, even though vocally Guest doesn't hold a candle to Warlow. Of course, such is my adoration for Warlow's voice ... and my opinion of Phantom as a dramatic work ... that I'd still rather see Warlow in a production that doesn't quite work, than Guest in a Phantom that works as well as it can.

Now there is the prospect of the best of both worlds. Warlow today is still in magnificent voice but I suspect ... trust ... hope ... his interpretation will be less overt (without, for instance, the sotto voce "Touch me/Trust me" which eventually became a parody of itself), more - well - mature.

I'll guess that the producers will try find a new face for Christine, though - of course - I'll be much more interested in who plays Meg. It'll also be interesting to see if there will be any changes to the lyrics or score introduced, either as a result of the recent movie or just to roll up any alterations that might have been made since Phantom last toured down under.

But what's really enticing is the hope that this new production could lead, at long last, to an Australian cast recording with Warlow's performance etched in laser for prosperity. I haven't seen anything that this is the plan, but surely it must be on everyone's minds. If they know what's good for them.

Comments (4)


Do you have any idea how one could audition for the role of Christine?

Try contacting the producers, either Really Useful Group Australia (Andrew Lloyd Webber's production company) or the Gordon Frost Organisation/SEL (the co-producer for this return season).

Both companies are based in Sydney and should be in the phone book. There'll undoubtedly be auditions in all the major cities.

Be aware that Christine needs to be a true "triple threat" - a soprano with a top - I think - E (though you won't need to hit that live), a ballerina capable of dancing on point (which to my knowledge all of the Australian Christines have done, even if some of the international ones got away without it) and a strong actor, as the character of Christine undergoes the biggest change through the show.

Good luck - you might be the next Marina Prior!


Are the ensemble dancers required to have extensive singing experience. My audition is on Monday, I am solely a classical dancer with no singing experience. I am worried I am wasting my time going without being able to sing.

The audition information I've seen does state that RUC (Really Useful Company) is looking for "strong singing voices" and that "auditionees should prepare one ballad and one up-tempo number for classical / musical theatre voice. You will need to provide your own sheet music, in the key in which you wish to sing."

That said, it's showbiz, and if you've got an audition. I'd turn up and see what happens.

You could contact RUC on (02) 9363 2499 to sound them out if you're still not sure.

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