Drawing: Ben Forster in The Phantom of the Opera

Ben Forster The Phantom of the Opera

Ben Forster’s association with Andrew Lloyd Webber began when he won ITV’s SUPERSTAR in 2012 and played the title role in the UK arena tour of the rock opera JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. It continued last month when he became the Lead Phantom in the world’s highest grossing musical of all time, Lord Webber’s mesmerising THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at Her Majesty’s in London.

Unfortunately Ben damaged his ribs early in his run and was unable to perform for the past month. When he told me that he was playing ‘the masked one’ while signing my ELF sketch at The Dominion earlier in the year, I said I must draw him as the Phantom. And I did and popped past the theatre each weekend check to see if he has recovered. Luckily he returned to the lair this week where I caught up with him after Saturday’s evening performance.

Drawing: Ben Forster and Kimberley Walsh in ‘Elf The Musical’

Elf

A sense of deja vu prevailled as I waited for Ben Forster to emerge from the Dominion Theatre’s stage door after a matinee performance as Buddy in ELF THE MUSICAL. Based on the popular 2003 film. The production premiered on Broadway during the festive season of 2010-11 before it’s 2014 UK debut in Plymouth with Ben in the lead role, reprising it for the west end transfer.

One of theatre’s genuinely nice guys, Ben has been the subject of a number of my sketches. Last year I was standing in the same spot for him to emerge from another matinee, this time playing Magaldi in EVITA. The usual band of admirers were waiting, probably the same people on both occasions. After the ritual selfies with them, or in this case ‘elfie’ (sorry) Ben signed the drawing with his usual kind compliments. I asked him what he was doing next and he said “Phantom.” “The masked man himself?” I quipped  and he confirmed he will  take on the title role across town at Her Majesty’s from early February.

Playing opposite Ben as Jovie was pop star Kimberley Walsh from ‘Girl’s Aloud” fame, who was also included in my sketch. I had to return another day to get her to sign it because, as Ben explained, with a young baby she needed all the rest she can get so didn’t come out between shows. However the night returned it rained and my untrustworthy umbrella lived up to it’s status. That didn’t deter Kimberly, who signed through the drops with the spirit-based sharpie which slipped over the damp paper without a smudge.

Drawing: Ben Forster in Evita

ben forster evita

Ben Forster shot to fame after winning ITV’s Superstar competition in 2012, playing the title role in the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar in its Arena Tour.

He has just completed a short run of another Lord Webber and Tim Rice musical, Evita, at the Dominion Theatre in London. The multi award winning musical charts the life of Eva Peron, the former wife of Argentine dictator Juan Peron and her rise to power.

Ben guest starred in the role of Agustin Magaldi, Eva Peron’s first love, when the production did 55 performances at the refurbished Dominion Theatre following a UK Tour. The final performance was on Saturday evening (1 November 2014).