Music News & Reviews

Veteran Broadway tenors to perform with symphony

John Cudia
John Cudia Courtesy photo

Three superstars with velvet voices were brought together because of the iconic role of the Phantom. Although they performed the part with different casts and during different decades, these three Broadway stars mastered the difficult role. This Saturday, three highly-revered tenors will join the Wichita Symphony Orchestra for a musical extravaganza.

Only 12 performers have played the role of the Phantom during Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera’s” 26-year run on Broadway. Three of them – John Cudia, Cris Groenendaal and Mark Jacoby – will sing a variety of solos, duets and trios from “Damn Yankees” to “Les Miserables” to “South Pacific.”

“We’re singing some of the greatest music,” said Groenendaal. “It’s a real nice variety of music. The audiences love it.”

Groenendaal originated the role of Monsieur Andre in the original Broadway cast of “Phantom.” Eventually, he took over the title role.

Groenendaal also performed in the Broadway casts of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Sunday in the Park with George” and “Sweeney Todd.”

Cudia also performed the role of Monsieur Andre and then went on to be the Phantom. Cudia’s run lasted more than a decade; he performed with both the touring cast and on Broadway for most of the beginning of the 21st century.

Like the other Phantoms, Cudia has performed in other Broadway casts, including playing the role of Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables.”

The third Phantom in the “Three Phantoms” cast is veteran performer Jacoby. Jacoby performed the Phantom on Broadway for more than 800 performances, beginning in 1991. Other credits include “Sweeny Todd,” “Man of La Mancha,” “Showboat” and “Ragtime.”

“The Three Phantoms” is not a show about “The Phantom of the Opera” but a concert by three Broadway stars that combines music from many musical numbers, some of which they performed on or off Broadway. Many of the solos have significance to the performer.

Jacoby will sing a number from “Nine,” a play that helped propel him to Broadway, where he worked under the direction of Bob Fosse in “Sweet Charity.” Like the other Phantoms, Jacoby will sing three solos. In addition to the song from “Nine,” he will perform a number from “Kiss Me Kate” and “The Impossible Dream” from “Man of La Mancha.”

“There’s a heightened anxiety level (to this show),” Jacoby said. “We have a lot of fun on stage and off stage.”

Jacoby is excited to step foot in Kansas for the tour, having played the Great Oz in the first touring cast of “Wicked.”