I was going to write this in 2024 or 2025 when I actually planned on leaving, however, things have changed, Raoul.
When I was seven years old, my father brought me to work with him one night. He worked as a part-time stagehand at Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the Palace Theatre in the heart of Times Square. He brought me onto the stage because he had to do some thing up there, and I remember just staring out into the house of an empty Palace Theatre, thinking that it was the coolest thing I ever saw. That was the moment I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
My Broadway journey started on Rt. 17 in Paramus, NJ, while I was waiting for my car to be serviced at a Midas service center. I got a phone call out of nowhere saying that ‘Phantom’ scheduled me for a live audition two days from when I got the call. I thought they were joking. I wasn’t in the union at the time and I figured that they were just doing my voice teacher a favor. He was a Piangi for about 5 or 6 years and I had mentioned to him that Broadway was a dream of mine.
The day of the audition arrived and I remember taking the PATH into New York City thinking that I wasn’t going to get the part. I had nothing to lose and, frankly, I was just happy to be there. I thought it would be like all of the other auditions I had: arrive, sing for 5 minutes, and be on my merry way back to being an unemployed actor/singer. The audition lasted 30 minutes.
When I was chatting with the audition panel, I noticed that Kristen Blodgette (one of the music directors at Phantom) had drawn little hearts on my resume. I tried not to think anything of it, but when I left the audition room I knew I had done something right, or at the very least, made a good impression for them for future openings in the cast. The audition was on my 29th birthday and two days later, between Sections 13 and 14 at the Prudential Center, I got the best belated birthday present anyone could ask for.
The last five years at ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ have been a dream come true. It has been an absolute honor and privilege to be a part of the Longest Running Broadway Musical of All Time, and I will cherish what remaining time we have between now and 2023.
I have had the good fortune to work with some of the best people in the business and I have made friendships that will last beyond our final bows together.
I will be forever grateful to Kristen Blodgette, Seth Sklar-Hyen, David Caddick, and David Lai for giving me this opportunity. I also have to thank the incredible Polly Baird for teaching a guy with two left feet this incredible show. My father was a proud member of IATSE NY-1 for 25 years and without them, we’d have no show.
1267 performances. Over 100 PiangiMania performances. 35 years on Broadway. 1 Iconic Musical.