Top 10 Actors Playing the Phantom
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 around 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 we now welcome you to enter our labyrinth and review our list of Top Ten Phantoms.
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. For a while Crivello was the sole actor playing the Phantom in Vegas. Sadly, the Las Vegas production of The Phantom of the Opera closed its doors in 2012, with Crivello giving the final performance.
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. Killian Donnelly
The most recent Phantom on our list, Killian, like several of his forebearers, first played the role of Raoul in the West End production, joining the cast in 2011. In 2020 he played the Phantom on the UK tour. In December of that year it was announced that he would take over the role in the West End production when Her Majesty’s Theatre reopened in 2021 after closing due to the Coronavirus pandemic. As of writing in December 2021, Donnelly is still London’s Phantom, haunting sell-out crowds in the newly revamped West End production. His performance is one not to miss, so book your tickets here.
6. Earl Carpenter
Earl Carpenter played the Phantom at Her Majesty’s until 17th March 2012 and continued in the role on the UK tour of the show. 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.
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
Fourth in our list is John-Owen Jones, who was chosen to play the Phantom in the West End in 2001. Jones is special in that he has performed in the role for 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.
3. Gerard Butler
Hollywood actor Gerard Butler’s Phantom is not one portrayed on stage, but he was cast in the 2003 film adaptation directed by Joel Schumacher. Although Butler had 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.
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. 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 actors to take the iconic lead in The Phantom of the Opera cast 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 Daaé, 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 performance.
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!