PHANTOM is one of the longest running musicals ever. It’s had a record-breaking run on Broadway and has also been very successful on London’s West End and in many other countries as well. Because of its success, Phans all over the world have been blessed with the opportunity of hearing many, many, many casts from all sorts of different countries. But this got me thinking: what is my all-time favorite cast? I thought that today I would talk about the most popular (and most well-known) casts (as well as some of my personal favorites) and debate over which is my favorite.
The Original Cast
The Original Cast is somewhat… unpopular(?) as far as original casts for musicals go. I know that a lot of people are not big fans of Sarah Brightman’s Christine and Michael Crawford’s Phantom but have respect for their role in creating the musical. I think that probably the most beloved original cast member is probably Steve Barton in the role of Raoul. Personally, I quite like the original cast and it’s one of my favorite CDs that I have. Michael Crawford’s “Music of the Night” is actually what got me into PHANTOM. Personally, I also really like Sarah Brightman and Steve Barton in their roles. I think that, in general, people who were introduced to the original cast first like it more than people who decided to give it a try after falling in love with a different cast.
The 25th Anniversary Cast
This is where things are going to get a little controversial. And I mean, for the most part, I like the 25th Anniversary Cast. I’m really glad that we have the Royal Albert Hall live, professionally filmed event. But at the same time… I’m not a big fan of this cast. Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom took me some time to like. And I’m not completely sold of Sierra Boggess’s Christine. I do like both singers in other shows, but I’m not too fond of their portrayals of the Phantom and Christine. All-in-all, though, I think that the 25th Anniversary Cast is one of the most well-liked, well-received PHANTOM casts we have and I definitely have respect for them and what they bring to the PHANTOM community as a whole.
The 2004 Movie Cast
Thoughts on the 2004 movie vary from person-to-person. Some people really like it. Others claim that it’s the worst thing in the entire world. Personally, I am not big into it though I do have a copy of the DVD at home (mostly because my sister quite likes it). In general, I don’t think that the singing was of the best quality (except on the part of Patrick Wilson). I also just wasn’t too fond of how they portrayed Carlotta. I understand that this was mostly for comedic appeal, but they made Carlotta out to be someone who just overreacted to everything whereas, in the stage production, I feel like she has real reasons for being angry. However, I must say that I do have a sort of respect for the movie because it was the way in wich I first was able to watch PHANTOM.
I was utterly devastated when I heard that the Oberhausen production of PHANTOM was closing. The cast was amazing and I wish that I could have seen it live and in person. I just loved everything from the singing and the language to the costumes. I think that the German language is just one of the most beautiful things in the world and I love listening to the German cast recording of PHANTOM (sadly it’s not of the Oberhausen cast…) and so PHANTOM Oberhausen was one of my favorite things in the world. I also loved the overall chemistry between members of the cast and I love how, even now, they all stay in touch via social media. Some of their comments on each other’s posts are the most adorable things in the world. In general, I just wish that the Oberhausen production was still running. The cast would always take the most hilarious, adorable pictures with one another that I just lived for. (Also, I might have been praying that Mark Seibert might eventually join the cast as the Phantom, but that never happened… sadly…)
The Moscow production also had some of the most beautiful, intricate costumes I have ever seen from PHANTOM. And, along the same lines of the Oberhausen production, the Moscow cast also took some pretty wonderful photos backstage and I just loved Elena Bahtiyarova as Christine. While I cannot understand any Russian, I thought that the language was just very beautiful. Like the Oberhausen cast, I think that they, in general had really good chemistry.
Czech Non-Replica Production
I don’t know very much about the Czech Republic non-replica production other than the fact that it’s non-replica and very pretty (and that it’s definitely increasing in popularity among Phans [at least on Instagram and Tumblr]). I have seen some of the pictures from the production and I think that the costumes are really pretty (and so is the set). But I’m not very familiar with the cast so I can’t really call it one of m favorites. I will say that I think that it would be really cool to and see the Czech production, though! I thought that it would be worth mentioning because it’s very popular.
Current Broadway Cast
While the current Broadway cast is kind of controversial (mostly because of James Barbour [please no hate comments]), I think that it is actually quite good. Personally having seen James Barbour, Julia Udine, and Jeremy Hays (Julia and Jeremy are no longer with the cast), I know that they are a very talented group of people.
Current London Cast
I know that the current London cast of PHANTOM is very well-loved, but personally, I’m not too big into it. I think that Nadim is a very good Raoul, but he’s the only cast member that I really, really like. Maybe I’ll give them another try?
What is YOUR Favorite Cast?
Personally, I think that I’m going to have to go with the Oberhausen cast. I just absolutely loved every member of the cast and I hope that Germany brings PHANTOM back to their stages!