With hundreds of actors, including understudies, playing the lead role of the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera in its many productions throughout the world, it is a hard task to choose the top ten talented men who have stepped behind the mask to portray the enigmatic musical genius. We undertook this difficult task, however, and here is our list of top Ten Phantom’s who have played the role in various productions throughout the world.

Anthony Crivello

10. Anthony Crivello

Anthony Crivello originated the Las Vegas production of The Phantom of the Opera, and is tenth on our list. Originally appearing in the role alongside Brent Barrett, alternating the lead, Crivello is now, as of 2008, the sole Phantom in the Vegas show.

Anthony Warlow

9. Anthony Warlow

Ninth on our list is the original Phantom in the Australian production of the musical, which opened in 1990. Anthony Warlow played the role on and off until 2009, as he reprised his role in 2007 at the Melbourne Princess Theatre when The Phantom of the Opera reopened. Warlow also played the part on the two-year tour of the show which visited Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide, as well as New Zealand. He appeared as a guest at the 25th Anniversary Concert of The Phantom of the Opera in October 2011 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

8. Simon Bowman

Simon Bowman shot to recognition after appearing in the hit musical Miss Saigon, and then went on to play the part of Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera. Later, he was chosen in the leading role and performed at the 25th Anniversary celebrations of the show in December 2011 in Manchester.

7. Colm Wilkinson

Originally from Ireland, Colm Wilkinson performed as the original Phantom in the Canadian production of the show in 1989 at the Pantages Theatre, now Canon Theatre, in Toronto. He has lived in the Canadian city ever since. Wilkinson also appeared during the 25th celebrations of the show alongside other former Phantoms at the Royal Albert Hall.

6. Earl Carpenter

Earl Carpenter is the current Phantom at Her Majesty’s until 17th March 2012 but will continue in the role on the UK tour of the show in October. Earl first played the role from 2005 until 2007 and reprised the part in December 2011 for a short run of four months. He was also part of the 25th Anniversary celebrations at the Royal Variety Performance at The Lowry in Manchester, singing the title song of The Phantom of the Opera alongside three other former Phantoms and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger.

Peter Karrie

5. Peter Karrie

Having played the role of the Phantom in London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vancouver and Toronto, as well as on the UK tour in cities such as Manchester, Peter Karrie is a veteran when it comes to portraying the character. Loved by Phantom ‘Phans’, he was twice voted in 1994 and 1995 as the favourite Phantom by members of The Phantom of the Opera Appreciation Society.

 4. John Owen-Jones

Forth in our list is John-Owen Jones, who was chosen to play the part of the Phantom in the West End in 2001. Jones is special in that he has performed in the role for the longer than any other London Phantom, as he left after nearly four years and 1,400 performances. As part of the 25th Anniversary celebrations of the show, Jones performed the title song and The Music of the Night at The Royal Albert Hall performance in October 2011 alongside other past Phantoms.

Gerard Butler

3. Gerard Butler

Hollywood actor Gerard Butler has never portrayed the role of the Phantom on stage, but he was cast in the 2003 movie of the musical by director Joel Schumacher. Although Butler has no previous musical experience, he began to take singing lessons and auditioned for Andrew Lloyd Webber who was impressed by his performance. Butler was praised for his role as the iconic masked musician and it brought him recognition in the world of film.

2. Ramin Karimloo

Ramin is popular amongst Phantom fans. In 2003, he played a different leading role in the West End production of The Phantom of the Opera as he performed as Raoul, and in 2007 he took over as the Phantom and performed during the 21st anniversary in the role. Recognised by fans of the musical for bringing a different interpretation of the character to the show, Ramin received a Theatregoers’ Choice Award Nomination for Best Actor in a Take Over Role, that year. Ramin went on to originate the part of the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel Love Never Dies which premiered at the Adelphi Theatre in 2010, and one of his greatest honours was being chosen to perform as the Phantom alongside his Love Never Dies co-star Sierra Boggess as Christine in the 25th anniversary production of The Phantom of the Opera which was staged at the Royal Albert Hall and streamed live to cinemas across the world.

 1. Michael Crawford

Topping our list of Phantom’s is, of course, the very first Phantom, Michael Crawford. Originating the role back in 1986 at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, Crawford saw great success following his role opposite Sarah Brightman as Christine Daae, winning the 1986 Olivier Award   for Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical. Crawford reprised his role on Broadway in 1988, winning a Tony Award for his performances. In 1991, 1,300 performances and three and a half years later, Michael Crawford left The Phantom of the Opera. He will always be known by fans of the musical as the original and best Phantom. Are you a Michael Crawford fan? Join in the chat and keep up to date with news on the singer at the Michael Crawford international fan association.

Who would you have put on the list? Do you think that there is a deserving Phantom missing or should the number one spot be given to someone else? Add your comments here!

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