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Broadway welcomes a new phantom  
John Cudia is to become Broadway's New 'Man Behind The Mask' in the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera, beginning Thursday 22nd May.
John Cudia as the Phantom, Majestic Theater, Broadway

Having starred as the Phantom on the national tour, Mr. Cudia returns to the Broadway Company, where he previously played the leading role of Raoul.  Current and record-breaking Phantom Howard McGillin is to return to the Broadway production in late July 2008.

Beginning Thursday evening, 22nd May, there will be a new ‘man behind the mask’ in the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera, which is the longest-running show in Broadway history.  John Cudia, who starred to great acclaim in the title role on the national tour of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical directed by Harold Prince, will return to the Broadway production, where he previously played the romantic leading role of Raoul and covered the title role for 2½ years.

Mr. Cudia’s return to The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street) is the latest chapter in his long history with Phantom, which began nearly nine years ago.  He first joined the national tour in November 1999 as a Swing and cover for the leading role of Raoul.  After only eight months, he took over as Raoul, which he played from July 2000 through March 2002, earning a National Broadway Touring Award nomination. It was on this tour that he met, while performing opposite, his future wife, Broadway actress Kathy Voytko.  In October 2002, he joined the Broadway Company as Raoul, a role that he would play in New York for over 750 performances, through May 2005.  During this time, he also covered the title role. He next took over as the Phantom on the national tour in April 2006, playing it for nearly 700 performances, through November 2007.

Mr. Cudia will be commanding the stage of The Majestic Theatre for 10 weeks, stepping in for current and long-time Phantom star Howard McGillin.  With a record-breaking tally of over 2,000 performances, Mr. McGillin has played the title role more than any other performer on Broadway.  Mr. McGillin’s last performance (prior to Mr. Cudia’s first performance on 22nd May) will be Saturday evening, 17th May.  (Understudies will cover the role May 19th-21st.)  During his time away from the show, Mr. McGillin’s projects will include shooting the film All Good Things, starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. He will return as the Phantom on Monday, 28th July, after Mr. Cudia’s final performance on Saturday evening, 26th July.

With the national tour, John Cudia played the Phantom to rave reviews across North America.  “The resplendent John Cudia pulls off a miracle here,” raved The Toronto Globe & Mail.  “His Phantom is vocally powerful with enough menace, enough emotion and enough cheekiness to humanize it. His virtues shine!”  The Toronto Star wrote, “Cudia’s Phantom is a powerful figure with considerable vocal prowess that moves us,” and The Toronto Sun proclaimed, “the talented Cudia excels at passion!”  In The Chicago Tribune, he was hailed as “a sexier, more outré Phantom!” and The Chicago Sun-TimesThe Washington Post cheered, “The proceedings appreciably quicken whenever Cudia is on duty. The vocally-powerful performer creates moments of pulse-raising epiphany!” Having also performed in the Broadway cast of Les Misérables (during its original run), he holds the distinction of being the only actor to have played both major leading roles of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables and the title role in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.  noted, “with plenty of charisma, the first-rate Cudia is a most imposing Phantom, with a clarion voice and unaffected acting style.”

In addition to his critically-acclaimed runs in Phantom (on Broadway and tour) and Les Misérables (on Broadway), Cudia most recently played Jean Valjean in the highly-successful production of Les Misérables at the Marriott Theatre in Chicago, one of only five regional theaters in the USA to win the rights to perform the show.  His resume includes such leading roles as tenor Tony Candolino in Master Class (Portland Stage), the title role in Jesus Christ Superstar (Carousel Theater), Freddy in My Fair Lady (Westchester Broadway Theater) and Lt. Cable in South Pacific opposite Cathy Rigby (Casa Manana), as well as in productions at Paper Mill Playhouse, North Shore Music Theater, Pioneer Theater and St. Louis Repertory. His concert appearances include The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber with Liz Callaway and Alice Ripley and performing as a featured tenor soloist with the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea in his home state of New Jersey.  John earned his BA from Fordham University.

Mr. Cudia becomes only the 12th actor to take over the role of the Phantom on Broadway during the production’s more than 20-year run.  He follows (in order): Michael Crawford, Timothy Nolen, Cris Groenendaal, Steve Barton, Kevin Gray, Mark Jacoby, Marcus Lovett, Davis Gaines, Thomas James O’Leary, Hugh Panaro and Howard McGillin, as well as four additional temporary replacements: Jeff Keller, Ted Keegan, Brad Little and Gary Mauer.

Continuing in their roles in the Broadway cast are Jennifer Hope Wills (Christine), Tim Martin Gleason (Raoul), George Lee Andrews (Monsieur André), David Cryer (Monsieur Firmin), Kim Stengel (Carlotta through 17th May, Patricia Phillips returns to the role on Monday, 19th May), Rebecca Judd (Madame Giry), Evan Harrington (Piangi), Heather McFadden (Meg Giry) and Elizabeth Loyacano (Christine at certain performances).


Posted on: 24th April 2008

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