Wednesday, May 20, 2009

John Cudia Will Succeed Howard McGillin, World's Longest-Running Phantom, on Broadway

What a run! Howard McGillin will exit Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera on July 25 to pursue new projects. He leaves the Majestic Theatre after ten years — with some breaks in between — and takes with him a new record: world's longest-running Phantom! I saw him twice and he was quite good. But I'd have to say that it's about time that this show gets a fresh Phantom!

At a record-breaking 2,450 performances and counting, McGillin has already played the title role more than any other performer on Broadway. His closest competition, as far as performance count, at just under 2,400 performances, is the late Rob Guest, who played the title role in Australia and New Zealand. Americans Franc D'Ambrosio — the longtime record-holder before Guest — and Brad Little follow with over 2,100 performances each.
John Cudia, the current star of the national tour, will take over the role on Broadway after a nearly decade-long association with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, directed by Harold Prince, on July 27.

After ten years since his first of many engagements with the production, McGillin has decided to pursue other theatrical ventures, according to a statement released May 7.
McGillin is a two-time Tony Award nominee as Best Actor in a Musical (Anything Goes) and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (The Mystery of Edwin Drood).
Cudia will return to the Broadway production, where last summer he stepped in to play the title role for a limited engagement of ten weeks. This time, he'll be taking over the role officially.
Continuing in their roles in the Broadway cast are Marni Raab (Christine, Jennifer Hope Wills returns June 1), Ryan Silverman (Raoul), George Lee Andrews (Monsieur André), David Cryer (Monsieur Firmin), Patricia Phillips (Carlotta), Rebecca Judd (Madame Giry), Evan Harrington (Piangi), Heather McFadden (Meg Giry) and Elizabeth Loyacano (Christine at certain performances).
Cudia has had a long association with the show. He first joined the national tour in November 1999 as a Swing and cover for the leading role of Raoul. After eight months he took over as Raoul, which he played from July 2000 through March 2002, earning a National Broadway Touring Award nomination. He also covered the title role. On that tour, he met his future wife, Broadway actress Kathy Voytko. In October 2002 he joined the Broadway company as Raoul, a role that he would play in New York for over two-and-a-half years and 750 performances, through May 2005.
During this time, he also continued to cover the title role. He next took over as The Phantom on the national tour in April 2006, playing it for nearly 700 performances through November 2007. He will continue to perform with the tour until his final performance in Minneapolis on May 24.
Cudia also played Jean Valjean in Les Misérables on Broadway.
The longest-running show in Broadway history (achieved in 2006 when it surpassed the then-record run of Cats), The Phantom of the Opera is the winner of seven Tony Awards including Best Musical.
Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is currently working on a sequel to the show, Phantom: Love Never Dies, to bow in 2009-10.
The Phantom of the Opera has discounts available with Applause at below the normal face value of the ticket. What a bargain! We can all use bargains today, can't we? Call 800-451-9930

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