Beginning September 6, Oliver Thornton will take over the role of Raoul and Rachel Barrell will join him as the new Christine, with Sally Harrison as Carlotta. Also new are Claire Tilling as Meg and Rohan Tickell as Piangi. Thornton is an experienced West End performer, with turns in Les Miz and Chicago, but Harrison is more used to the operatic stage, as a former principal for English National and Scottish Operas. John Owen-Jones remains as the Phantom.
After a quiet couple of years as a composer — though as a producer he was responsible for the hit A. R. Rahman Bollywood show Bombay Dreams — Lloyd Webber will be firmly back in the limelight in the second half of 2004. Phantom finally spirits from stage to the big screen for the Christmas season, in a movie version directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum and Patrick Wilson. And, Aug. 28 sees the first preview of Lloyd Webber’s new show — a return to the gothic territory of Phantom — The Woman in White, at the Palace Theatre.