The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Currents

April 2, 2012

Something 'Phantom' this way comes

MANKATO —  

When Jared Oxborough strode into Minnesota State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance office, there was no doubting:
 
This was The Phantom.
 
He carried a nearly empty gallon of water and a Tupperware container with boiled chicken. He wore a backward beret and a potent expression. Even in a loose T-shirt, he appeared fit and muscular. 
 
Described aptly by his director as “tall, dark and handsome,” Oxborough’s gait implied the confidence of a man capable of delivering the performance of a lifetime.
 
“As good as Jared is, he is still young for The Phantom,” said Paul Hustoles, department chair and director of MSU’s upcoming production of “The Phantom of the Opera,” of his selection for one of theater’s most recognizable roles.
 
Hustoles said that the role is so coveted that, in general, opportunities are only given to actors who have played it in the past and proven their ability to handle the character’s operatic singing and dark, brooding atmospherics. 
 
“He could play this role another 20 years.”
 
Oxborough is a returning MSU theater student who has spent the last three years as a professional actor in the Twin Cities, seasoning himself with up to eight shows a week at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater where he’s been cast in the roles of Che Guevara in “Evita” and Judas in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” to name a few.
 
Hustoles said he reached out to Oxborough after auditioning the role of The Phantom among students in December. Finding none of the candidates suited to the demanding singing style, Hustoles said he decided to tap a professional.
 
“I was like, ‘Yes, yes, yes, I’ll do whatever I can to make this work,’” Oxborough said of his reaction. “I couldn’t think of a better opportunity.”
 
Oxborough arrived on campus in late March, condensing his preparation time to just a few weeks. He’s been carrying food and water wherever he goes to sustain his voice and body, both worn thin from repeated rehearsals.

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