There have been some pretty exciting changes at Her Majesty’s Theatre this week, as the West End company of The Phantom of the Opera added a few new faces to their ranks, including the most talked-about face in the show. Argentina-born Geronimo Rauch, who made his West End debut as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, left the barricades behind for another leading role, putting on the famous mask to play one of musical theatre’s most captivating characters, The Phantom. He was joined by Sean Palmer in the role of his love rival Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny. Further cast changes have been made across the board, but while it is always a novelty to see fresh faces in a long-standing production, I’m sure there are plenty of fans out there who will breathe a sigh of relief that not every cast member has moved on to pastures new. A number of performers rode out the cast change and are continuing in the show, including this week’s featured ensemble member for In Profile: Richard Munday.
Richard Munday is an up-and-coming talent who originally hails from Chepstow, South Wales. He followed his stage ambitions all the way to London, where he trained at the renowned performing arts institution, Mountview Theatre School. Since graduating from the school, he has worked on building up a solid list of theatre credits, culminating in his current residence with the West End’s second longest running musical theatre production.
Before arriving at Her Majesty’s Theatre however, he made a number of stops along the way; one of the first was his involvement in the open air concert A Tribute to Dirty Dancing. In 2002, he appeared at the Bridewell Theatre in a production of Paul Bartel’s Eating Raoul (music by Jed Feuer and lyrics by Boyd Graham) and travelled to Norway to perform in the musical theatre classic Hair! at the Oslo Spektrum. His touring experience is extensive, having travelled far and wide in a variety of theatrical projects. He was a featured soloist in the European tour of Musical Starlights and was also a company member of Jesus Christ Superstar on a previous UK tour, in which he understudied the title role. He has also appeared at the Royal Albert Hall for the first ever musical theatre production to be staged at the prestigious London performance venue. Show Boat, the 1927 Broadway musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, was produced at the RAH in June 2006 and featured such West End names as John Owen Jones. Munday performed in the production as Backwoodsman.
A big part of his theatre CV includes his work with Shakespeare 4 Kidz, the UK theatre company who create and tour musical adaptions of Shakespeare’s works for children and young people. One of his first roles with S4K was in their production of The Tempest, playing the love-struck Prince Ferdinand. He then brought to life a raunchy, leather-wearing Tybalt – cousin of Juliet – in the tour of Romeo and Juliet, which led to him being able to add ‘riding a motorbike on the stage’ to his list of skills. The next S4K production took him to Dubai where he performed the title role in their unique version of Macbeth, following on from Jason Lee Scott in the UK tour. He has also portrayed Oberon, King of the Fairies, in a revival of the S4K hit musical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Aside from his experiences in the world of Shakespeare, Munday has been involved in several other musicals. He is an associate artist of Wales Theatre Company, having appeared in such productions as West Side Story where he played the principal role of Tony. He has also performed as Luke O’Neil in the world premiere of The Thorn Birds, a musical adaption of Colleen McCullough’s best-selling novel of the same name. The show toured all across the UK, playing venues in the likes of Windsor, Plymouth and Birmingham. His other credits for the WTC include playing Florindo in A Servant of Two Masters, the comedic play by Venetian playwright Carlo Goldini which was later adapted by Richard Bean into the acclaimed One Man, Two Guvnors, and playing the lead character in the 2005 musical production of Amazing Grace. He played Evan Roberts in the story of the 1904-1905 Welsh Revival.
He has played a leading role in a West End show, appearing in Willy Russell’s classic musical Blood Brothers. In this story of fraternal twins who are separated at birth and brought up at opposite ends of the social spectrum, Munday played one half of the twin brothers, Mickey, the baby who was raised by his biological mother.
In addition to his on-stage roles, he has also travelled all over the world as a member of The Twelve Tenors, a group of Europe’s finest singers who perform music from such wide-ranging genres as opera, pop, swing and musical theatre, often singing in Spanish, Italian, French, German and Chinese too. He worked as a soloist and as the artistic director for the 12 Tenors international tour, as well as co-creating The 3 Swing Tenors.
He is now appearing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the ensemble of The Phantom of the Opera, where he plays the Policeman in the Pit. He also covers the leading role of Raoul, love interest of Christine Daae.
Richard Munday is a star in the making and as he continues to rise higher and higher, he’s only going to shine more brightly.
You can follow Richard on twitter: (@RichardSMunday).
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Saturday 7th September 2013