Roger Preston Smith returns to WBT in PHANTOM.
I grew up in the country outside the small town of Loveland, Ohio about 45 minutes outside of Cincinnati. I spent a lot of time on my own working the fields and garden and our roadside vegetable stand. During those hours in the field, I would often get lost in daydreams singing and dancing. I still don't understand where my desire came from but it was there as long as I can remember. When I was six, I found a brochure from the PTA. They were offering dance lessons for 50 cents. I begged my parents to allow me to take tap and I guess the rest is history. They never really understood what I was doing but they were always supportive.
I spent the first 20 years of my career as a dancer. Originally I just wanted to be a concert dancer and was a member of several Ballet and Contemporary companies. In my 30's I began doing Musical Theater and because I didn't look like a chorus boy, I was often given the small speaking parts and understudying principal roles. This allowed me to extend my career long after most dancers have retired. Even though I still sometimes serve as the dance captain, I am primarily hired as an actor now.
I was aware of this version of "Phantom" but had never seen it or even heard the score before. I saw the Broadway version right after it opened and was somewhat unimpressed. I felt that the show was more about the spectacle than actually telling a story. In fact, I remember very little about it except the chandelier. I have been pleasantly surprised with how beautiful and lush the music is in the Yeston version. I also love the fact that you find out how the Phantom came to be. It makes him a more real and sympathetic character.
This is my 11th production at WBT. It's always great to be able to work and still live at home. Plus you know the shows are going to be high quality. After, so many shows, the people here have become like a family to me. I'm always happy to come back.
I think my favorite show is Pippin. It opened around the time that I arrived in NYC. I had never seen anything like it. The tickets booth had also just opened and I bought 1/2 price tickets 12 times to see Pippin. "Dear Evan Hanson" and "Come From Away" are my favorite contemporary shows. My dream roles would be Captain Hook in "Peter Pan" and Fagin in "Oliver". I have understudied Hook several times but never got to go on. Luckily I was able to perform Fagin for a week but would love to get the chance to do again for a longer period and really develop the character
I'm an avid Cyclist and also love going to the gym. But my biggest passion is travel. Luckily my career has taken me around the world and I have friends throughout. I try to do at least one international trip for at least a month each year. I want to travel while I'm still able to hike and climb and really enjoy myself
I enjoy Classical music, Musical Theater, and Jazz.
As Jean-Claude (center) in PHANTOM.