I saw “The Phantom of the Opera” U.S., tour three times, twice with the old cast and once with the new cast. I have noticed some differences between the way the characters are portrayed by the actors and actresses.
I saw Cooper Grodin twice as the Phantom and while he had a good voice, it was not very strong. He did not have a great presence for the role and his portrayal was violent, much like book Phantom. He also had terrible blocking.
There was also no chemistry between him and Julia Udine (Christine), which made it impossible to feel any compassion for him when he sang, “Christine, I love you,” at the end of the musical. It made it seem surprising that the Phantom loved her at all.
Chris Mann had a great and powerful voice. When he walked on stage he had the presence of the Phantom and he was not as violent as Grodin. However, I did not see the love he had for Christine until the second act, which is better than showing no love at all.
I saw Julia Udine twice as well and she was a fantastic Christine. She had a great voice and I could understand her perfectly. I really have no complaints about her at all.
Katie Travis was a great singer, in the words of Raoul “no doubt of it.” However, she was hard to understand at some points. She was a good Christine though.
I saw Nick Cartell as Raoul twice, once with each cast, and I notice a difference with both.
While with Julia Udine and Copper Grodin he sounded louder than he did with Chris Mann and Katie Travis. I am assuming that this is because Grodin did not have a strong voice and presence, while Mann did. Mann is also the more experienced singer, having been on “The Voice.”
Cartell sounded a bit quiet with Travis and Mann. Overall he was a great Raoul.