The dark presence of the phantom will soon be felt on the stage of the St James Theatre for the first time.
The Phantom of the Opera will be brought to life by Wellington Musical Theatre, running for three weeks in June.
The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, based on a French novel, has been performed in 150 cities around the world and translated into 13 languages.
For singer Cris Crowe, taking on the role of the phantom was something he had hoped for since first realising he could hold a note.
"Every boy who can sing a tune wants to play the role. I had hoped for a long time to do it, and I guess I was lucky to be the right guy in the right place at the right time."
Crowe, 36, has previously performed in musicals including Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Miserables, but playing the phantom was his biggest - and most exciting - challenge yet. Since landing the role, he has watched as many performances online as he could find to get his depiction of the tormented phantom just right.
"This man is so iconic that you absolutely don't want to stuff it up."
Crowe will be joined on stage by Wellington performer Barbara Graham as the phantom's love interest Christine Daae.
It was a daunting role, but incredibly exciting, Graham said. "I'm really looking forward to it. She's an interesting character with some strange ideas about the phantom and what he means to her."
Wellingtonian James Adams will be working hard to get the crowd on side as the phantom's competition for Christine's hand, Viscount Raoul de Chagny.
"I know the audience is always secretly pulling for the phantom, so it'll be my job to get them rooting for me instead," he said. "Phantom is such a classic that I couldn't possibly imagine not being involved."
Tickets for The Dominion Post's season of The Phantom of the Opera can be bought from ticketek.co.nz.
- © Fairfax NZ News