Maree Johnson, currently playing Madame Giry on Broadway will join the production of The Phantom of the Opera in Australia. She will take a sabbatical from the New York production to play the ballerina in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical produced by the Australian Opera House in Sydney Harbour.
Johansson will perform her final show in New York on February 13. Then, she will return to the Broadway cast on May 12. In her absence, veteran Phantom actress Rebecca Eichenberger will play Madame Giry. The two actors have a long history in this international hit musical. Johnson made the Australian premiere of Phantom in Melbourne in 1990, as a member of the band and the cover of Christine. She later became Christine Alternate. When production moved to Sydney in 1994, she rejoined the cast as Christine. She has been playing Madame Giry on Broadway since 2017.
Originally cast as opera diva Carlotta in April 2011, Rebecca Eichenberger had 700 Broadway performances by June 2003. She returned to New York production in April 2016 to play Madame Giry, a role she played until December 2016. Opera Australia’s outdoor production Phantom will open on March 25. Starring will be Melbourne-born Joshua Robson as The Phantom, Brisbane actor Georgina Hopson as Christine, and West End and Broadway actor Callum Francis as Raoul Vicomte de Chagny. The Phantom of the Opera’s Handa Opera House on Sydney Harbour is directed by Simon Phillips. With set and costume design by Gabriela Tylesova. The show will run until April 24.
The company will also feature Naomi Johns as Carlotta, Paul Tabone as Piangi, Michael Cormick as Firmin, Martin Crewes as Andre, Kelsi Boyden as Meg Giry, Daniel Macey as Buquet, Lachlan O’Brien as Reyer, Raphael Wong as Passarino, Matt Heyward as the Hairdresser, Tod Strike as the Jeweller, and Elliot Baker as Don Attilo.
The ensemble includes Johanna Allen, Sarah Bakker, Ben Clark, Jack Connor-Rowan, Andrew Coshan, Emma Dawson, Sarah Dimas, Pedro Donoso, David Duketis, Jack Evans, Trina Farrelly, Keane Fletcher, Lewis Francis, Allie Graham, Giselle Graham, Caitie Hawkins, Tianna Koolloos, Elisha Zion Lee, Michaela Leisk, Josephine Lonergan, Imogen-Faith Malfitano, Douglas McRae, Sarah Murr, Annabelle Rosewarne, Amelia Sanzo, Megan Schoenmaker, Andy Seymour, Bree Stephens, Maddison Toomey, and Georgia Wilkinson.
Phantom of the Opera in Australia
The Phantom of the Opera has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. With lyrics by Charles Hart (additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe), and a book by Stilgoe and Lloyd Webber. The production also includes musical staging and choreography by Gillian Lynne, set and costume design by Maria Björnson, and lighting design by Andrew Bridge. Martin Levan has the credit for set design, with Caddick as Music Director. Cameron Mackintosh and Lloyd Webber’s The Really Useful Group serve as producers.
This Broadway show from London won seven Tony Awards in 1988, including Best Musical. The Broadway previews began on January 9, 1988, with the official opening on January 26. The original Broadway cast included Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman, Judy Kaye, and the late Steve Barton.
Credits: playbill.com; broadwaydirect.com
Credits featured image: Thomas Adams, Wikimedia Commons