Chit Chat: Jonathan Roxmouth

2011-11-25 14:31

The Phantom of the Opera has just celebrated 25 years on London’s West End. Why does this production have such a lasting allure?
I don’t think there is a single answer to that. They caught lightning in a bottle due to the collaborative nature of writing musicals. The right team with the right material produced this breathtaking musical that no one saw coming.

You are Raoul, the hero, during the week and the Phantom on the Sunday performances. How difficult is it to make the transition?

It’s all a matter of separation. I had no idea how much work it was but, thankfully, I had a very patient team to deal with my many schizophrenic moments in scenes where I didn’t know whether to stand in Raoul’s spot or sing the Phantom’s lines.

What is a typical rehearsal day like when you have to prepare for two roles?
It is a surprisingly straightforward process. I always try to gym before rehearsals. From there, it is usually dancing in the morning, vocals during midday and scene work during the afternoon. The schedule is clear on
which character is needed, and I do gear shifts from room to room. Phew!

Is it a shock to find yourself performing what you have rehearsed, but from behind a mask and make-up that takes two hours to put on when you are the Phantom?
It can only help, quite frankly. That time in the chair is really nice to just settle down before the performance. The layering process is quite therapeutic, so I use it as one type of warm-upin a sense. As for the mask, it is the Phantom’s source of power. I find that I am less inhibited in trying different things when I wear it. It is
such a privilege to don that iconic mask.

Many actors are superstitious before performances. Do you have a ritual you perform before treading the boards?
Not any more. I have way too much to think about with this show. Superstition is a luxury.

You are considered the hottest property in musical theatre. How did you end up singing for
your supper?

That’s honestly the first time anyone has said that to me. I don’t quite know what to say. I started out by auditioning for the Barnyard Theatre’s production of Grease in 2005, two weeks before writing my matric exams. I got three distinctions as well as the role of Teen Angel in the show. My mother gave me a gap year to ‘get it out of my system’ before knuckling down to a criminal law degree. I’m still on that gap year.

Someone told me that you learned the guitar in record time for a Barnyard show early on in your career. Tell us about that?

I wouldn’t say I learned the guitar. I kind of got my way around the score of The Buddy Holly Story when I was cast as Buddy. There aren’t that many chords so, with enough practice, I faked my way through it.

Of all the shows you’ve been in, which have been your favourites and who have you enjoyed singing with the most?
Up until earlier this year, I would have said Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, but I reckon Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar overtook that role. In many ways, it was the discovery of a different side of myself.

You have achieved success so early in your career. What are the roles you’d like to
tackle next?

I would love to play Billy Bigelow in Carousel or even Harold Hill in The Music Man.

» The Phantom of the Opera runs at Artscape in Cape Town until January 15. It then moves to Joburg’s Montecasino from January 31. Book at Computicket

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.