Swedish actor Peter Jöback first came to musical theatre when he was ten years old as one of the Von Trapp children in a production of The Sound of Music starring Ulla Sallert. He caught the bug and set his sights on Broadway, but he was warned—by none other than ABBA’s Bjöorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson: “It's hard for a Swedish person to make it on Broadway,” as he recounts in the video above.
Joback created the role of Robert in their musical Kristina från Duvemåla and the show’s cast album received multiple Swedish Grammy Awards. Though Jöback continued a successful recording career, he also continued performing in musical theatre throughout Europe, including as the Emcee in Cabaret until one day he got a call. “I remember when Cameron [Mackintosh] called me and said, ‘Could you consider going to Broadway?’” Jöback first came in to Mackintosh’s Broadway production as the titular role in The Phantom of the Opera in 2013, and it was pure magic.
“I remember coming in on the boat and looking up in the sky and saying, ‘Mom and Dad I made it,’” the actor says.
Now, though Jöback was planning to take some time off, when he was told director Hal Prince and writer Andrew Lloyd Webber wanted him to be the 30th Anniversary Phantom, he returned to Broadway. “How can you say no to that?”
And Jöback has slipped into The Phantom’s sleek suit like no time has passed. “You imagine 30 years old and it still feels fresh,” he says. “Playing it, you realize how well-written it is.”