Today, Phantom of the Opera cast member Philip Griffiths became the Guinness World Record holder for the longest time an actor has been in a single West End show. Philip joined the London production of The Phantom of the Opera a whopping 25 years and 185 days ago! Philip was also the resident director of the show between 1998-2000.
Philip’s previous acting credits include ten years at the Prince Edward Theatre, Evita directed by Hal Prince, Chess directed by Trevor Nunn and Anything Goes directed by Jerry Zaks. Also in the West End, Kings and Clowns and The Biograph Girl (both at the Phoenix). UK tours include Paul Fontaine in Desert Song andNarrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Pantomimes include Colin in Puss in Boots, Prince Charming in Cinderella and Robinson in Robinson Crusoe. Philip has also appeared in repertory in Othello and Faces of Eve (Salisbury Playhouse).
I caught up with Philip during today’s celebrations to speak to him about his new world record and his love for all things Phantom!
Congratulations on getting into the Guinness Book of World Records for holding the record of Longest Time In The Same Production. You have been in the London production of The Phantom of the Opera for over 25 years! How does it feel to have been in the same show for longer than anyone else in the world?
Well, It’s been the 185 days after the actual 25 years that have made me feel tired! I feel wonderful about it of course and humbled by it all.
You must know the show better than anyone else in the world as you’ve performed in it so many times. How would you sum up the story in one sentence?
The worlds most iconic, enduring and timeless love story.
I know you should stay impartial but who has been your personal favourite Phantom?
Genuinely don’t have one – anyone who can play that role is at the top of their game, and each bring something new and fresh to the role.
Do you have a favourite song or scene in the show and has it changed over the years?
It’s hard to choose just one, but the moment straight after the auction as the overture kicks in with cloths flying, chandelier soaring above the audience, still gives me goosebumps. Reminds me of the first time I saw the show (the night before I auditioned all those years ago)!
What is it you love about this show that has kept you from leaving for so many years?
Over the years I’ve performed as swing, the Auctioneer, Reyer, have jumped on in an emergency many times as various characters and I was resident director for 2 years – as they say, variety really is the spice of life. I always remind myself that each audience is experiencing the show for the first time and it’s our responsibility to create this world for them. I’m amazed that even after all this time, the show still amasses all the interest that it does, particularly on the cusp of its 30th anniversary!