A Veteran Phantom Embraces "The Music of the Night" Once Again Oct. 3

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03 Oct 2005

Howard McGillin as <I>The Phantom of the Opera</I>.
Howard McGillin as The Phantom of the Opera.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Howard McGillin, who has clocked more hours in a mask — and in the makeup chair — than any other actor in Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera, returns to the title role Oct. 3.

It'll be McGillin who stars as the tortured musical genius when the Broadway production becomes the longest-running musical in the history of Broadway in January 2006. He's already played the masked-man more than 1,200 times. McGillin joins fresh from the tour of Peter Pan, in which he played Capt. Hook to Cathy Rigby's high-flying Pan.

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The Harold Prince-directed production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera plays Broadway's Majestic Theater.

McGillin was selected by Lloyd Webber, producer Cameron Mackintosh and director Prince to play the Majestic this season for the winter milestone. On Jan. 9, 2006, Phantom will play performance No. 7,486, breaking the record set by current champ Cats. (By odd, seemingly impossible coincidence, Jan. 9 is also the date of the first Broadway preview of the Tony Award-winning smash.)



In the New York run's nearly 18 years, McGillin is one of only 11 men who have been cast as The Phantom.

Hugh Panaro, who has played the Phantom more than 1,000 performances, exited the show Oct. 1 in preparation for another strange and romantic title character: Lestat, the vampire of Anne Rice's imagination, as refracted through the new songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin. The Broadway-bound musical plays San Francisco's Curran Theatre in late 2005 prior to a spring Broadway 2006 opening.

McGillin's credits include playing Mack Sennett in London's Mack and Mabel, plus Broadway's Kiss of the Spider Woman, She Loves Me, The Secret Garden.

For his work as juvenile lead Billy Crocker in Anything Goes he was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk Awards. For his work as mysterious and menacing John Jasper in The Mystery of Edwin Drood he was also (Tony and Drama Desk-nominated, and won a Theatre World Award.

McGillin starred in the world premiere of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Bounce at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and the Kennedy Center in D.C., where he was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for his performance. His work is preserved in the cast album. His New York debut was in The Public Theater's La Boheme. His solo CD, "Howard McGillin: Where Time Stands Still," is available online.

The current cast of Phantom also stars Sandra Joseph as Christine and Tim Martin Gleason as Raoul and co-stars Jeff Keller (Firmin), George Lee Andrews (André), Anne Runolfsson (Carlotta), Marilyn Caskey (Madame Giry), Larry Wayne Morbitt (Piangi) and Kara Klein (Meg Giry). At certain performances, Rebecca Pitcher plays Christine.

For more information, visit www.thephantomoftheopera.com.

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For the record, the Broadway Phantoms in order from its 1988 opening to fall 2005 are Michael Crawford, Timothy Nolen, Cris Groenendaal, Steve Barton, Kevin Gray, Mark Jacoby, Marcus Lovett, Davis Gaines, Thomas James O'Leary, Hugh Panaro, Howard McGillin, Hugh Panaro (return 2003), Howard McGillin (return 2005).