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John Owen-Jones Compares ‘Phantom’ Erik and ‘Les Miserables’ Jean Valjean

By James Knight J.knight@classicalite.com on Mar 06, 2016 03:37 PM EST

John Owen-Jones is leaving the West End run of Phantom of the Opera to once again take on the role of prisoner 24601 A.K.A. Jean Valjean in Broadway’s Les Miserables. Now, John Owen-Jones is opening up about the two iconic roles and just how they differ.

Recently, John Owen-Jones spoke to Playbill where he compared playing Jean Valjean in Les Miserables to Erik in Phantom of the Opera:

“The most enjoyable aspect of playing Jean Valjean is, actually, working with the other people. When you’re playing a role like Phantom, it’s just you and the two other leads. You never really see anyone else, but because Les Miz was conceived as an ensemble piece, Valjean, he’s the leading role, [but] he is also part of the ensemble. You get to work with loads of different people, there’s all sorts of different energies and understudies--it’s just exciting.”

John Owen-Jones went on to discuss what it is like to bounce between the two roles:

“There’s a certain type of actor, like Colm Wilkinson, who’s kind of a theatre animal. I am, myself. I mean, I love it, and those two roles are enormously theatrical, but also contrasting, but satisfying in different ways. I think that’s what attracts people to it, just the challenge of keeping it fresh, and there are certain actors who love that challenge, so I guess I consider myself one of them. I don’t…I never really rest on my laurels when I’m performing. I think that’s the kind of actor you have to be to play roles like Valjean and the Phantom.”

Which role do you prefer, John Valjean or Erik the Opera Ghost? Let us know your pick between the two shows in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

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TagsJohn Owen-Jones, Compares, Phantom of the Opera, Erik, Les Miserables, Jean Valjean