FORMER Phantom of the Opera Earl Carpenter is bound for Broadway to star as Javert in the acclaimed revival of Les Misérables. The dream role reunites Southampton-born Earl, who grew up in Bournemouth and Poole, with Tony nominee Ramin Karimloo who played Valjean opposite Earl in Cameron Mackintosh’s 25th anniversary production in Toronto last year.

“It’s an amazing opportunity and incredibly exciting to appear again in a show that I absolutely love, but for it to also be my Broadway debut is out of this world,” says Earl, who trained at the Jellicoe Theatre in Poole.

“When I came back from Canada it was the first time in 20 years as an actor that I didn’t already have something lined up to go to.

“I had just decided to enjoy the break when the offer to go to Broadway came in – an offer I couldn’t refuse!”

Earl is due to fly to New York this week and opens on Broadway on August 12, covering for American actor Will Swenson until October 3.

But not even the brightest of bright lights will stop him helping a local event that is dear to his heart – assisting his friend the renowned cellist Yvonne Marie Parsons in The Big Swim, an epic cross-Solent swim on September 7 to raise money for the Royal Society Of Musicians.

Earl paddled the lead kayak in the original Big Swim in 2012 from Southsea to Ryde Sands near his home on the Isle of Wight and was planning to take part again this year when Yvonne and fellow musicians Neil McTaggart and Dan Czwartos will swim nine miles from Colwell Bay, near the Needles, across the mouth of the Solent to Hurst Spit and along the coast to Hengistbury Head.

“Living by the water is just the perfect remedy to what is normally a most chaotic existence,” says Earl.

He added: “The sense of achievement we all felt after the first Big Swim was completed was just so incredible it didn’t take much to agree to support this gallant new attempt by Yvonne, especially when you consider the cause behind it.”

In 2002 Yvonne was struck down by a serious illness caused by chlorine poisoning from when she was a baby.

Her nervous and immune systems broke down leaving her with a blood disorder and severe autoimmune deficiency.

Unable to find a cure in this country, the Royal Society of Musicians gave her £2000, which enabled her to see a pioneering doctor of immunology research in Copenhagen.