21 Oct 2013
Byron Nease, who originated the role of Raoul in the Canadian production of The Phantom of the Opera, died Oct. 16. He was 59.
Mr. Nease played the role of Raoul for more than five years and can be heard on the original Canadian cast recording of the show. In total, he performed in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical more than 1,700 times.
He made his sole Broadway appearance playing Patrick Dennis in the 1983 revival of Mame starring Angela Lansbury. Other theatre credits included Annie Get Your Gun, Camelot, A Little Night Music, West Side Story, Carousel and South Pacific.
Mr. Nease wrote the 2008 autobiography "Behind the Mask..No More," in which he discussed living with HIV, which he was diagnosed with in the 1980s.
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.