Age & Hometown: “Too old for Gavroche but not quite ready for Jean Valjean”; Los Gatos, CA
Current Role: A Broadway debut as Christine’s loyal beau Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny in the 25th anniversary cast of The Phantom of the Opera.
Renaissance Raoul: Raised in “a little slice of heaven” in the San Francisco Bay Area, Kyle Barisich grew up with the beach, the city and sprawling fruit orchards close at hand. “California is the land of freedom,” the actor says. “You have access to the best of everything.” His easygoing upbringing cultivated a variety of interests—upon moving to New York, Barisich pursued acting while moonlighting as a magazine food critic and “audience warm-up guy” for Live With Regis and Kelly. “Kelly [Ripa] likes to embarrass me into singing ‘All I Ask of You,’” says the actor, who still occasionally wakes up early to fill in at Kelly and Michael. “For her and her alone, I will sing Andrew Lloyd Webber at nine in the morning.”
Swinging on a Star: After graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, Barisich’s affinity for multitasking scored him a role in Phantom on Broadway and on tour…at the same time. “I was what I call a ‘universal vacation swing,’” he explains. “I had 20 or so roles under my belt in both companies. So I would get these phone calls—once I was visiting family in California and I got a call from management. They said, ‘Don’t get on the plane back to New York! We’re sending you to Portland for a week.’” While some actors might find the uncertainty unnerving, Barisich had fun rolling with the punches. “You never know you can do it until you try,” he says with a laugh. “That was a really fun year.”
A Phabulous 25th: Barisich worked his way up the ranks of the Phantom ensemble, landing the role of Raoul on Broadway in 2011. After starring in the long-running hit for eight months, he was asked to be a part of the 25th anniversary cast opposite Sierra Boggess—and to say he’s thrilled would be an understatement. “I’m trying not to be giggling and grinning in rehearsal, but I’m just so excited to be singing with her,” he says. “She’s a tremendous talent. It’s like she’s built to do this role!” For Barisich, being personally asked by director Hal Prince to be a part of the birthday celebration is an “unbelievable” career highlight. “I’ve given the best that I have to Phantom,” he says. “I love this show so much.”