LUKE Westley has got his mojo back.
Just in time to star as Raoul in Echuca-Moama Theatre Company’s production of The Phantom of the Opera.
‘‘I haven’t been on stage for 20 years,’’ he said.
‘‘Only now because of Phantom — and I got my mojo back.’’
Although he has always loved theatre, performing since he was eight, the 35-year-old stopped once he started working full-time in the media industry.
‘‘I have been too busy with work and after a mini midlife crisis, I thought it was time to get back into it,’’ he said.
Originally from Adelaide, Luke moved to Echuca-Moama in May 2016 and when he heard EMTC was planning to stage The Phantom of the Opera, he couldn’t say no.
‘‘I wanted to play the Phantom,’’ he said.
‘‘I rehearsed for six months, I even made my own mask. I actually said to my partner, ‘if they offer me Raoul, I’m not doing it’.’’
Well, they did offer him the part of Raoul and he did say no.
About five times.
But an adamant co-director, John Wright, persevered.
‘‘It was funny because John said he knew he had found his Raoul but the bastard auditioned for Phantom,’’ Luke laughed.
‘‘He kept ringing me, asking if I would accept Raoul and I kept saying no and that I was far too old, but eventually I gave in.’’
However, it took a few weeks for Luke to fully accept his new role.
‘‘I never saw myself as Raoul. To me, he was a pretty boy and that’s not me,’’ he said.
‘‘Now, I’m much happier in the role and I’ve fallen in love with Raoul.
‘‘I love the bond between Sophie (Miller, who plays Christine) and I feel we’ve built a good connection.’’
And the fact EMTC had already put so much work into the production convinced Luke he was doing the right thing.
‘‘It really reassured me how passionate everyone is,’’ he said.
‘‘I hope the audience sees EMTC in a very different light, grown up and matured as a company.
‘‘I love the cast and the passion and I hope audiences walk away with the same sense of wonder about the show.’’
The Phantom of the Opera will take to the stage at the Paramount from May 25 to June 9.
Tickets are on sale at the Paramount.