It all seems rather anti-climactic somehow. The badly-kept secret that Hadley Fraser will play Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary production has finally been confirmed. I’m delighted, of course, but like many fans, I’m also rather annoyed. There was no big announcement today from Andrew Lloyd Webber that would have justified all the secrecy. The link that Hadley Fraser tweeted was simply a DVD product listing on the Phantom website, which says “Hadley Fraser as Raoul.” The confirmed cast members and Fraser himself made it clear that they were under a “gag order,” but why bother? With one week left before the three performances at the Royal Albert Hall, anticipation is high enough without these silly games. I personally wanted confirmation of Fraser’s participation before I decided whether to buy tickets to the cinema broadcast. I can’t help speculating that Lloyd Webber held back Fraser’s casting news because he’s not considered a big enough name, outside his enthusiastic fan base, to sell tickets. If that’s the case, then shame on you, RUG. If you give Fraser the role, then you should stand by his casting and shout it to the world with confidence. I’m certain all the folks who have never heard of him (which was me six months ago) will be sitting up in their seats and taking notice. A whole bunch of them will be searching him out and following his career.
Congratulations, Mr. Fraser! See you at the Opera, by way of the cinema.
Update: A little bit late to the party, but at least Broadway.com gave Fraser a nice little write-up. The official site for Phantom also added a news announcement, dated September 23rd. This wasn’t the link that Hadley Fraser tweeted, and I’m not sure this really was posted on Friday morning or added later with the dates tweaked.