Deep in the bowels of the opera house there's someone lurking. We ventured into the shadowy depth of Her Majesty's Theatre to hunt out musical theatre's most iconic ghoul - The Phantom of the Opera. Luckily for us, we discovered that the man behind the mask, Gerónimo Rauch, is much more approachable than his on-stage character.
HISTORICALLY, THE PHANTOM IS ONE OF THE MOST FRIGHTENING CHARACTERS ON STAGE. WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES HIM SO SCARY?
He has no middle ground. He is unpredictable, and he loves and hates with the same intensity.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA HAS BEEN RUNNING FOR 28 YEARS, IS IT HARD TO STILL MAKE AUDIENCES JUMP?
I think we have such an iconic way of ending the first act that people are willing to see it live again and again. This production is still so fresh, even after 28 years.
IS IT DIFFICULT TO PERFORM IN A MASK?
At the beginning it was uncomfortable, but now I feel naked without it on stage.
WHEN YOU TAKE OFF THE MASK, DOES A BIT OF THE PHANTOM EVER STAY BEHIND TO HAUNT YOU?
No, The Phantom stays at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Though, sometimes a bit of make-up gets left behind and I realise the morning after.
YOU RECENTLY FINISHED PLAYING JEAN VALJEAN IN LES MISERABLES AT THE QUEEN'S THEATRE, DO YOU IDENTIFY WITH MISUNDERSTOOD CHARACTERS AND WHO IS HARDER TO PORTRAY, THE PHANTOM OR JEAN VALJEAN?
I think I love to suffer on stage. I always audition for roles that challenge me, so playing both is a dream. I’m really enjoying playing the Phantom, and I wouldn’t mind playing Jean Valjean again.
DO YOU THINK YOU'D GO TO A HALLOWEEN PARTY DRESSED AS THE PHANTOM?
That's work. The Phantom stays at the theatre.
Groups 10+ best available reduced to £39.75 (Mon-Fri and Sat matinee only). The Phantom of the Opera is booking until September 2015.
Two of Cameron Mackintosh’s legendary long-running productions celebrated their birthday in October. Les Misérables – the world’s longest running musical - reached the grand old age of 29, with The Phantom of the Opera celebrating 28 glorious years in London’s West End.
Les Misérables opened on October 8, 1985 at The Barbican Theatre, before transferring to the Palace Theatre in December 1985. It later moved to its current home - the Queen’s Theatre - in April 2004. Current Jean Valjean, Peter Lockyer, gave an impassioned speech at the end of the anniversary performance, thanking everyone for their involvement over the years. The Phantom of the Opera has played over 11,000 performances at Her Majesty’s Theatre since opening on October 9, 1986. At the after show reception, the cast sang ‘Happy Birthday’ before tucking into a specially decorated cake and toasting the show success with a glass of champagne.