John Donica shines in the Phantom of the Opera Credit: Photo by Michael Murphy

John Donica — the first African-American actor to step into the challenging role of ‘Raoul’ on Broadway — back in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera until August 1. 

By Margrira, Contributing Writer

Come on, NJ; it’s just a quick trip on the Pathe Train to 42nd Street and actor Jordan Donica’s return to the stage in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera— in the role that he previously made his Broadway debut in 2016 to 2017 — is the perfect reason to secure tickets to see the musical.

Donica was the first African-American actor to step into the challenging role of ‘Raoul’ on Broadway. And now, he joins Phantom leading lady Emilie Kouatchou, who, last October, became the first African-American actress to play the coveted role of ‘Christine’ wowing fans and critics alike. Donica has gone on to appear in leading roles in My Fair Lady on Broadway and the national Hamilton on tour and currently stars as Jordan Chase in the CW series “Charmed.” He will perform in the role through August 1, during a leave of absence for actor John Riddle. Here is what Jordan Donica had to share about being back on Broadway in The Phantom of the Opera.

John Donica shines in the Phantom of the Opera (Photo by Michael Murphy) Credit: Photo by Michael Murphy

NJ Urban NewsYou’re back, Jordan Donica! What’s that like? Is it like riding a bike? (Can you ride a bike?).

JORDAN DONICA: As Freddy Mercury once sang, ‘I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike.’ That’s what being back on stage feels like, period. I’m lucky enough to be back with POTO for a short while to fill in for John Riddle while he breathes life into a new piece, and I couldn’t be more thrilled and grateful. I can indeed ride a bike 😉 

NJ Urban News: Some people travel, year after year, to watch this musical. Thoughts on why people love it so much?

JD: I think there are an infinite amount of reasons as to why people love a show like POTO. I’ve met quite a few people who make a yearly sojourn to watch the show several times in the course of a week. They always love to see how different people make different choices within the show. Specifically, I think there’s a special quality about the work that Hal Prince, Gillian Lynne, and Maria Björnson were able to bring to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s creation with lyricists Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe. Their style for the show has worldwide inspirations and influences, so it makes sense that everyone everywhere finds something to relate to within the piece. It has the perfect amount of melodrama, darkness, passion, love, lust, fantasy, magic, and realism at every turn. 

Donica as Raoul in the Phantom of the Opera on Broadway (Photo by Michael Murphy)

NJ Urban News: One might say it’s a coming of age story? Agree?

JD: It’s the ultimate coming of age story set in a very Romanticized time and place in human history that didn’t last for very long, so it also carries a healthy dose of nostalgia. The final ingredient is a little bit of mystery/suspense and fear. You will laugh, you will cry, you will feel things you’re not even certain of what they are exactly. THAT’S POTO. That is what everyone seeks in any artistic experience, and this version of the show delivers on just that.

NJ Urban News: What do you hope for in the future? Would you ever want to don the Phantom’s mask yourself one day? 

JD: One of my goals as an artist, in general, is to re-educate others on blackness as they have been taught to understand it through time and space. We, along with our brothers and sisters of other pigmentations and nationalities, have been and always will be present in all walks of life throughout history. It’s about time we start talking about that. My inspiration for Raoul has always been Thomas-Alexandre Dumas. If you don’t know who that is, I encourage you to look him up. He is the father of Alexandre Dumas, writer of “Count of Monte Cristo”, “Man in the Iron Mask”, and “Three Musketeers”, among many other novels. Many of his novels center on characters wrongfully imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  


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