Opera Australia in association with The Really Useful Group, will present Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, finally making its highly anticipated premiere at the Sydney Opera House.
Marking almost 35 years to the day since it opened in London’s West End, before going on to become one of the most successful musicals of all time, this will be the first time in the show’s history that it will play in the iconic Joan Sutherland Theatre, Australia’s home of opera when it opens this September.
This spectacular new staging by Cameron Mackintosh premiered with a record-breaking sell out tour of the UK followed by a 7-year tour of the United States which grossed over US$400 million and thrilled critics and audiences alike.
Australia is now only the third country to see this new Phantom with its beloved and thrilling score including the hit songs The Music of the Night, All I Ask of You and Masquerade.
With stunning new staging and scenic design, Maria Björnson’s iconic original costumes and many special effects including a spectacular new realisation of the show’s chandelier. It will be performed in Australia by a cast and orchestra of 65, making it one of the largest musical productions ever in Australia.
“We are thrilled to be bringing this exciting new production to Australia with its spectacular new staging by director Laurence Connor and fabulous designs by Paul Brown and Maria Bjornson,” said Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh.
“The show has already proved a sensational box office success on National tours across the UK and the US. It is a great delight to us both that a new production which has a totally original take on our beloved Phantom has been embraced with as much enthusiasm as the brilliant original.”
“Our wonderful cast will be headed by the terrific Australian star Josh Piterman who recently scored a huge personal triumph playing the role of Phantom in London before we had to close because of the pandemic. So let our Opera begin at the Opera House!”
Josh Piterman is an established musical theatre performer and classical crossover artist who has been working consistently on Australian and UK stages over the past 15 years. His past credits include being a part of international pop opera group The Ten Tenors, and Tony in the 2010 Australian production of West Side Story.
He also played Bustopher Jones/Gus/Growltiger in the 2015/16 Australian season of Cats (a role that won him the Green Room Award for best supporting actor in a Musical), Corny Collins in the UK tour of Hairspray and Gerry Goffin in the 2017/18 Australian tour of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. His impressive West End debut came as he took on the most coveted role as The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera in 2019.
“Words cannot describe how I feel about being cast in this Sydney Opera House season of The Phantom of the Opera,” said Piterman. “The role of The Phantom has truly been a lifelong dream of mine and donning the mask on the West End stage in such a legendary production was magical in every way.”
“Experiencing the global effects of the pandemic especially on the theatre industry over the past year has been difficult for so many, which makes it an even bigger honour to now be able to play The Phantom at home, helping to resurrect our industry and bring people back to our theatres.”
Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.
Directed by Laurence Connor with choreography by Scott Ambler, set design by Paul Brown, Tony Award-winning original costume design by Maria Björnson, lighting design by Tony Award-winner Paule Constable and sound design by Mick Potter, The Phantom of the Opera has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe), book by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber, orchestrations by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
This new production is overseen by Matthew Bourne and Cameron Mackintosh. The Phantom of the Opera in Australia is directed by Seth Sklar-Heyn and produced by Cameron Mackintosh, The Really Useful Group and Opera Australia. Full casting for Phantom will be announced at a later date.
“We are thrilled at Opera Australia to be presenting such an iconic piece of musical theatre at the Sydney Opera House,” said Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini. “We are looking forward to working with Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber to present this new production in Australia, creating incredible theatre for audiences to enjoy and opportunities for many arts professionals to return to.”
Image: Josh Piterman in The Phantom of the Opera on the West End (supplied)