The Great Comet Tony nominee Josh Groban has posted a tribute to David Romano, who created the role of Ubaldo Piangi in the original Broadway company of The Phantom of the Opera and passed away December 26 at his home in Palm Springs, California, at the age of 69.
Mr. Romano was also a vocal coach to a host of artists from the worlds of TV, film, opera, and Broadway, including Groban, who remembered the performer and teacher on Instagram, writing, "I remember when I first met David he was pretty eccentric. Big energy. Big opinions (that never changed!), but big knowledge. He taught me about placement. Visualization. Breath. Support. Sometimes we would fight like crazy. But he was passionate to the core. Anyone who knew him has a fun story. The guy lived 20 lives. He relished in making people part of new stories. Like any 'family' we had our ups and downs. But I will never forget the fun times, the care for my craft, and the friendship. Thank you, David. I would say rest with the angels but I know you’re busy teaching them better vowel placement."
“Not only did he have a beautiful voice, but he was also an excellent vocal coach,” Phantom co-star Sarah Brightman said in a statement. “He was a strong and ebullient character, a personality, lived life to the fullest, a lover of opera, a wonderful human being and will be missed by his friends and many in the arts and entertainment world. He will always be remembered and will never be forgotten as the vocal coach to the stars.”
Mr. Romano's other theatrical credits included the national tour of Evita, Sammy Cahn's Words and Music plus the L.A. Civic Light Opera productions of Camelot, Kismet, Wonderful Town, and Bells Are Ringing. He performed a duet with the late Luciano Pavarotti in MGM's Yes, Giorgio, and his other screen credits include Fernwood 2 Nite, Twilight Zone, Alf, Lady Blue, and Means and Ends.
The tenor toured the world as a soloist, and his voice can be heard on dozens of film soundtracks and commercials. Mr. Romano's solo recording, entitled The Greatest Tenor Show on Earth, features a duet with Pavarotti.
A private virtual memorial will be held at a later date.