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Donica ’16 stars as Raoul in ‘Phantom’ on Broadway

Donica ’16 stars as Raoul in ‘Phantom’ on Broadway

For any new graduate, entering into the real world can be an intimidating action. Jordan Donica ’16 has to do it in front of hundreds of people every night onstage.

Donica graduated from Otterbein on May 1 with a bachelor of fine arts degree in musical theatre. An accomplished actor while on campus, he and his professors were certain that stage work would present itself fairly quickly. Taking part in the Otterbein New York Showcase on March 28 gave Donica an opportunity to put his talents on display in the heart of the theatre world.

Not even a month after graduating, Donica was cast as Raoul in the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera, one of the most famous musicals in the world. He is the youngest person to play this role on Broadway.

“I was speechless, and frankly still am,” he said. “I saw Phantom for the first time when I was nine years old and it was the moment that solidified that acting was what I wanted to do with my life. Being cast in my all-time favorite musical has been an unbelievable dream come true.”

Making his debut on Broadway is no small feat for the recent graduate. Donica credits much of his early success with the professionally run Otterbein stage productions and the quality of his musical theatre education, one he says is second to none.

“The diverse variety of roles I performed in Les Miserables, How to Succeed in Business and others allowed me to explore my abilities. I came to Phantom rehearsals already feeling comfortable with how to act and be part of a large production. I got that from Otterbein,” Donica said.

Phantom opened in 1986 at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London and two years later at the Majestic Theatre in New York. It became Broadway’s longest running show in 2006. Now in its 30th record-breaking year, The Phantom of the Opera has surpassed more than 12,000 performances worldwide, including New York City, London, and Moscow.

As Raoul in the New York production, Donica plays one-third of a love triangle with Christine and the Phantom. The musical exists as a flashback in Raoul’s mind of his time as the young, wealthy, aristocratic producer of a Paris opera company. Donica is slated to play the role through September. He is hoping to add new dimensions and bring something new to the character during his tenure, but the gravity of his part is not lost on him.

“I’ve done three performances so far and am really looking forward to the rest of my time here. Even though it’s Broadway, I still get the same feeling about every show I get in community theatre,” he said. “Everyone in the company, from the doorman to the actors, are seasoned stage veterans and so welcoming and accepting. The part of Firmin, the Opera Manager, is even played by Otterbein alum Craig Bennett! They all make my job so much easier and a pleasure to do every day. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

Donica looks forward to just as promising of a long-term career as his start into professional theatre. For now, he’s reveling in every minute of his time as Raoul on Broadway and can’t wait to see what’s next.

“I’ve always said I’m open to pursuing any opportunity I’m passionate about that comes my way. I have goals to work in all areas of entertainment, from stage, to TV, to film, to directing. Starting off this big this early is helping me knock-off a lot of those “bucket list” items right away. I want to soak it all up and really be ready for whatever is next.”

Watch a video of Jordan Donica singing his signature song from Phantom on Facebook.

Learn more about Otterbein’s Department of Theatre and Dance.