Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera will be presented at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne following its record breaking season at the Sydney Opera House. From November 2, audiences will experience one of the most successful and much loved musicals of all time.
This spectacular new staging by Cameron Mackintosh premiered with a record-breaking sell out tour of the UK followed by a 7-year tour of the United States which grossed over US$400 million and thrilled critics and audiences alike. Australia is now only the third country to see this new PHANTOM with its beloved and thrilling score including the hit songs The Music of the Night, All I Ask of You and Masquerade. With stunning new staging and scenic design, Maria Björnson’s iconic original costumes and many special effects including a spectacular new realisation of the show’s chandelier.
This production includes a 37 strong cast and 27 piece orchestra, making it one of the largest musical productions ever in Australia. The talented Australian cast is led by Josh Piterman in the coveted lead role of the Phantom while Amy Manford takes on the role of the ingénue Christine Daaé and Blake Bowden plays Raoul Vicomte de Chagny.
Blake has starred on many Australian stages with his most acclaimed performance to date, leading the cast in the Australian production of The Book of Mormon in the lead role of Elder Price which also garnered him a Helpmann Award nomination for Best Male Actor in a Musical in 2019. Blake has also starred in productions including Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific, Sweeney Todd, West Side Story and The Boy From Oz Arena Spectacular with Hugh Jackman.
Can you tell me about your background with performing?
Blake: I really followed in my sisters footsteps when it comes to performing. We did everything together as kids, we did our first professional job together when we were both in our very early tweens and she was even in the very first professional musical I ever did! In terms of training I never did any tertiary training in acting, singing or dancing as I started in musical theatre straight out of school, but I did go to a performing arts high school The McDonald College in Sydney where I learnt a lot of my craft as well as always taking private lessons and courses in singing and acting.
Do you see any of yourself in Raoul?
Blake: I definitely see Raoul’s desire to protect those he loves in myself. I think I am a fiercely loyal person when it comes to the important people in my life and Raoul definitely feels that towards Christine. I also get to wear pretty great clothes in the show and I definitely don’t mind getting dressed up on occasion in real life!!
How is Raoul different to roles you have played in the past?
Blake: In recent years I haven’t played roles that have let me use my classical voice so that has been really fun to come back to. He also has a huge amount of privilege and status in the story and I’ve had a wonderful time getting to play an aristocrat.
What is your favourite song or moment in the show?
Blake: I think in act two in the mausoleum when I first get to sing with both Christine and the Phantom is a pretty powerful moment in the show that I always look forward to doing. It is also the moment when I get to finally release a lot of Raoul’s frustrations in the fight I have with Phantom and then he throws lots of actual fireballs at me which I have to dodge and I’ve never worked with pyrotechnics before, so I really have a great time doing that.
Why should audiences come and see The Phantom of the Opera?
Blake: To hear the score again or for the first time as it’s truly a work of genius and you’ll be humming the tunes for days. But this production is really special in the way it deals with the story, making the Phantom more human and relatable than before which also makes the love triangle between Christine, Phantom and Raoul more tangible. And finally come for the sets and costumes, they are magnificent and the chandelier alone is worth the price of admission.
The Phantom of the Opera opens at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne on November 2nd.
For tickets and more information, visit www.thephantomoftheopera.com.au
Header photo by Daniel Boud