The Phantom of the Opera took Manila by storm when it had a very successful seven week run in 2012.
Theater fans were swept off their feet by the outstanding performance of its lead actor, Jonathan Roxmouth, originally from South Africa, who continues to charm the world through his wonderful performances as a gifted stage actor. The following year, he won the Philippine edition of the BroadwayWorld Awards for his world-class performance as the phantom.
Roxmouth has been recognized many times, including numerous Fleur du Cap awards from his native South Africa—for Best Performance in a Musical (The Phantom of the Opera and Beauty and the Beast), Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Jesus Christ Superstar) and Best Supporting Actor in a Musical (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). The Fleur du Cap ranks high among the most coveted in the South Africa theater community, launched more than 50 years ago to honor the best works in theater.
The 31-year-old charmer has also played lead and important roles in classics like Sweeney Todd, Sunset Boulevard, Cats, West Side Story and Grease, to name a few. He is also a much admired recording artist, having eight albums to his credit.
Destiny played a big role in Roxmouth’s young career as he was only in his mid-20s when he first wore the now iconic mask of The Phantom. “Way back in 2011, I was cast as Raoul and was tasked to perform six times weekly, then I was also told I’ll be playing The Phantom twice a week as alternate to the main actor. By some twist of fate, he had to leave the show for medical reasons and I was asked if I could take on his role indefinitely,” he shared, adding, “I was definitely overwhelmed, quite scared frankly and there were a lot of emotions going on in my head. But the challenge was there and I took it on.”
Roxmouth is also touted to be the youngest English-speaking actor to have taken on the difficult role of The Phantom and he is aware that the pressure is immense. “The role is both physically demanding and vocally challenging, and I try to make my take on the character as realistic and as humane as possible. I have to be both resilient and vulnerable in many occasions.”
The Phantom of the Opera first opened at London’s West End in 1986, and after two years, it came to Broadway in New York. This Andrew Lloyd Weber musical remains as relevant as it was after 32 years, and it has just started its run at The Theatre at Solaire in Manila.
After the curtains close at the end of March, Roxmouth will stay in Manila longer to prepare for his special solo concert scheduled on April 13, with memorable songs from musicals as part of his repertoire.
Manila has indeed fallen in love with Jonathan Roxmouth, and we would like to think that it is a mutual kind of admiration, a romance that started on the stage and will continue to be nurtured for a long, long time.