The Phantom of the Opera: John Cudia to play the 'The Phantom'

John Cudia, the current star of the national tour of The Phantom of the Opera, will take over the role of 'The Phantom' on Broadway after a nearly decade-long association with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, directed by Harold Prince.

Cudia will return to the Broadway production on 27 Jul 2009, where last summer he stepped in to play the title role for a limited engagement of 10 weeks. This time, he�ll be taking over the role officially.

Cudia will succeed current and longtime 'Phantom' star Howard McGillin. With his record-breaking tally of over 2,450 performances and counting, McGillin has long been the �Phantom� longevity champ in New York � having played the title role more than any other performer on Broadway. Now, after 10 years since his first of many engagements with the production, he has decided to pursue other theatrical ventures and will play his final performance on 25 Jul 2009.

Cudia is only the 12th actor to take over the role of �The Phantom� on Broadway during the production�s more than 21-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.

The most successful stage musical of all time, the Cameron Mackintosh/Really Useful Group, Inc. production of Andrew Lloyd Webber�s The Phantom of the Opera, directed by Harold Prince, recently celebrated its twenty-first anniversary on Broadway on 26 Jan 2009, when it became the first Broadway production ever to have run 21 years.

The Phantom of the Opera opened at the Majestic on 26 Jan 1988, following previews from 9 Jan, and went on to sweep the 1988 Tony Awards, winning seven, including Best Musical. The production is currently selling tickets through to 31 Oct 2009.

Based on the classic novel Le Fant�me de L�Op�ra 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.

The Phantom of the Opera currently stars Howard McGillin (The Phantom), Marni Raab (Christine Daae - played by Elizabeth Loyacano at some performances), Ryan Silverman (Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny), George Lee Andrews (Monsieur Andre), David Cryer (Monsieur Firmin), Patricia Phillips (Carlotta Giudicelli), Rebecca Judd (Madame Giry), Wayne Hobbs (Ubaldo Piangi) and Heather McFadden (Meg Giry).

The Phantom of the Opera has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is directed by Harold Prince. Lyrics are by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe) and the book is by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The Phantom of the Opera has production design by the late Maria Bj�rnson, lighting by Andrew Bridge and sound by Martin Levan. Musical staging and choreography is by Gillian Lynne. Orchestrations are by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

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