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Colm Wilkinson is an Irish-Canadian tenor, best known for originating the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables (in the West End and Broadway) and for playing the title role in The Phantom of the Opera (at the Sydmonton Festival and in the original Canadian production). Due to his association with these musicals, he reprised the role of Jean Valjean during the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert (at The Royal Albert Hall), as well as appearing as a special guest at the 25th Anniversary Celebrations of Les Miserables (at the O2 arena) and The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall. His versions of both "The Music of the Night" from Phantom and "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables are acclaimed throughout the world; fans "insist he perform them...at all his concerts".
Colm starred in Voices, a musical based on the life and times of Joan of Arc, which went on stage at the Olympia Dublin in 1984. The show's music and lyrics were written by Derry based composer, Tommy "TC" Doherty, with the single 'Child of Destiny' being released at the time and now available on iTunes. In 1985, he collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Webber once again, originating the role of the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera at the Sydmonton workshop. The London production of Les Misérables opened in October 1985, and transferred to Broadway in March 1987. Originally, the American Actors' Equity Association refused to allow Wilkinson to play the part of Valjean in New York, due to their policy of hiring only American actors.
At this, producer Cameron Mackintosh refused to open the show unless Wilkinson played Valjean, and Actors' Equity relented. Wilkinson won the Helen Hayes Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, and the Theatre World Award for his performance; he was nominated for the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Actor in a Musical. In 1989, Wilkinson relocated his family to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, when he was offered the title role in the original Toronto production of The Phantom of the Opera playing at the Pantages Theatre (now Ed Mirvish Theatre). He has lived in Toronto ever since.