I’ve mentioned on several occasions how much love I have for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. The musical is one of those rare gems in which every aspect comes together to produce a richly sumptuous spectacle of a show that is probably as close to perfection as possible. It tops my list of favourite West End shows, and no matter how many other absolutely wonderful productions I see, I think any of them would be hard pushed to topple Phantom from that No. 1 spot.
No matter how brilliant a show is though, it’s nothing without an equally brilliant cast to bring it to life. At Her Majesty’s Theatre, they certainly don’t have to worry about that. There is a group of very talented actors taking on those principal roles, but more than that, they also have an incredible ensemble team to back them up. I have featured several Phantom ensemble members in previous In Profile posts and today, I would very much like to feature another in testament to the charity fundraising Phantom cabaret Jubilation which took place this past Tuesday night (17th July 2012) at the Delfont Room.
Marc Vastenavondt is someone who I have had the pleasure of meeting on numerous occasions and I have always found myself impressed by the talent this young man possesses. Born in Bangkok, he first came to the UK when studying for his MSc in Immunology at the University of Oxford and went on to train at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM), graduating with a postgraduate diploma in Musical Theatre.
Vastenavondt has had a number of theatre roles before being cast in his current one, including playing Jimmy/Rohna in Grand Hotel (RAM), JB Biggley in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (Oxford) and Annas in Jesus Christ Superstar (Bangkok). He also appeared on the BBC television programme Last Choir Standing as a member of the group Last Minute, and was part of the a capella group Out Of The Blue in Oxford and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In addition, he also hosted the fundraising event Marc In Concert at St John’s Auditorium in May 2007, performing a variety of songs from musical theatre classics such as ‘Gethsemane’ (JCS) and ‘Why God Why’ (Miss Saigon) to more mainstream songs like Stevie Wonder’s ‘You Are The Sunshine Of My Life’. He even tackled the powerful opera genre with the renowned ‘Nessun Dorma’.
It is The Phantom of the Opera which marks his professional West End debut however, and let’s face it, it’s not a bad show to start off in.
Vastenavondt joined the company of Phantom in 2008 as an ensemble cast member, namely in the roles of Passarino and Jeweller. He has performed alongside fellow cast members in a range of theatre events, such as The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary production at the Royal Albert Hall and MADTrust’s popular A West End Christmas and West End Eurovision, and not forgetting the two cabarets organised by Phantom’sperformers. I was unfortunately unable to make it to the most recent, Jubilation, but I was there for their earlier one, A Complicated Love. All the night’s performers were, of course, outstanding, but Vastenavondt was one of those who really did stand out to me. His breath-taking voice has an incredible range and I’ve seen him move people to both laughter and tears when he performs; those who have not yet had the experience of hearing him sing should have a listen to some of the videos on YouTube.
Marc Vastenavondt is a shining star of talent and has an equally bright future ahead of him.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Saturday 21st July 2012
You can follow Marc on Twitter: (@mvastenavondt)