John Owen-Jones and Ben Forster to star in The Phantom of the Opera

John Owen-Jones

John Owen-Jones will play the title role in The Phantom of the Opera from 7 September 2015. Picture: Roy Tan

From Monday 7 September 2015, there will be major cast changes in the West End production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, with John Owen-Jones initially playing The Phantom, followed by Ben Forster (from Monday 1 February 2016).

Owen-Jones has most recently played the part in the new production of the show on tour in the UK. He has also taken on the role more times than any other actor in the West End production’s history. The actor has also played the role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables in the West End, on the 25th anniversary tour and on Broadway. He was the first British actor to play the role in the West End and on Broadway. He most recently appeared as Pirelli in the English National Opera production of Sweeney Todd. He will play the role of The Phantom until Saturday 30 January 2016.

Ben Forster will play the role of The Phantom from Monday 1 February 2016. Forster is probably best known for winning the ITV1 show Superstar – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s TV talent search for Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. His other theatre credits include Magaldi in Evita at the Dominion Theatre. The actor will join The Phantom of the Opera following his appearance later this year as Buddy in Elf The Musical, also at the Dominion Theatre.

They are joined by Celinde Schoenmaker as Christine Daaé; Nadim Naaman as Raoul, Michael Matus as Monsieur Firmin and Christopher Dickens as Monsieur André.

Continuing their roles are: Lara Martins as Carlotta; Jacinta Mulcahy as Madame Giry; John Ellis as Piangi and Alicia Beck as Meg. Emmi Christensson will continue as the alternate Christine Daaé until June 2016 when Lisa-Anne Wood takes over the role.

Celinde Schoenmaker has just finished playing the role of Fantine in Les Misérables at The Queen’s Theatre, having made her West End debut in 2013. Previously she played Jenny in a production of Love Story which toured Holland.

Nadim Naaman returns to The Phantom of the Opera, having appeared in the production from 2010 to 2012. He most recently appeared as Charles Clarke in Titanic at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto. His London theatre credits include Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd at Harrington’s Pie & Mash Shop, One Man, Two Guvnors at the National Theatre and Theatre Royal Haymarket and The Sound of Music at the London Palladium.

Michael Matus recently played Fernando in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at the Playhouse Theatre. Other theatre credits include The Sound of Music at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre; Yes Prime Minister on UK tour; Lend Me a Tenor at the Gielgud Theatre and Theatre Royal Plymouth; Oklahoma! at the Chichester Festival Theatre and Imagine This at the New London Theatre.

Christopher Dickens’ West End credits include War Horse; Blood Brothers; The Sound of Music; The Far Pavilions and Salad Days. Other theatre credits include The Threepenny Opera (National Theatre), The Secret Garden (Birmingham Rep) and Mary Poppins on tour.

From 7 September 2015 the full cast will be: Zoe Arshamian; Charlotte Baptie; Alicia Beck; Kieran Brown; Emmi Christensson; Scott Davies; Hadrian Delacey; Christopher Dickins; Meshell Dillon; John Ellis; Lyndsey Gardiner; Ryan Goscinski; Philip Griffiths; Keith Higham; Lizzie Holmes; Lily Howes; Daisy Hulbert; Ellen Jackson; Tim Laurenti; Rhidian Marc; Lara Martins; Michael Matus; Leo Miles; Tim Morgan; Fiona Morley; Paul Morrissey; Jacinta Mulcahy; Richard Munday; Nadim Naaman; Joanna O’Hare; John Owen Jones; Simon Rackley; Celinde Schoenmaker; Danielle Stephens; Ashley Stillburn; Claire Tilling: Charlotte Vaughan; Georgia Ware and Lisa-Anne Wood.

The Phantom of the Opera is currently showing in London, New York, Hamburg, Budapest, Prague and on tour in the US. The show will open in Helsinki and Guangzhou in September.


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