MUSTWORTHINESS It's been a head-spinning year for the precocious opera singer-turned-actress, with roles as Sean Penn's murdered daughter in ''Mystic River'' and Jake Gyllenhaal's plucky love interest in ''The Day After Tomorrow.'' But her ascent to stardom ain't over until the ugly dude in the mask sings: Rossum has nabbed the coveted showcase part of Christine in the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's ''Phantom of the Opera.''
AND SHE'S NEVER EVEN SEEN THE SHOW! ''I know, I think I'm the only person in the world who hasn't,'' she says. ''After the screen test, I confessed that to Andrew, and he said, 'Fantastic!' He wanted the character to come from inside who I am.''
ON HER MUST LIST ''Mystic River'' director Clint Eastwood. ''One of the most important things he taught me was that no good work can be done amidst chaos.''
NEXT College may be on hold. ''I can't be enrolled as a full-time student right now because every time I actually sit my butt down in the classroom, my cell phone rings and I've got a fantastic job that I just can't turn down.''
MUSTWORTHINESS The two-time Tony nominee (for ''Oklahoma!'' and ''The Full Monty'') more than held his own among the powerhouse cast of HBO's ''Angels in America.'' Now he's bringing his Broadway-honed musical chops to the role of the dashing Count Raoul in Joel Schumacher's adaptation of ''The Phantom of the Opera,'' due in December.
ON HIS MUST LIST ''Mike Nichols, for putting me in 'Angels in America.' And Eddie Van Halen, just because he's Eddie.''
AND ALSO... ''A six-pack of Rolling Rock, my golf clubs, my DVD collection, my PlayStation, and 'SportsCenter.'''
CAREER HIGH ''The first day I worked with Al Pacino in 'Angels,' I was in the makeup chair, and one of the PAs comes in and says, 'Can I have the Tony nominee to the set?' I remember thinking, Wow, I just got nominated for my second Tony and I'm about to start shooting with Al Pacino. That was a good moment.''
SPIRITUAL JOURNEY ''If I'm recording an album, which I'm doing this week, I must listen to Steve Perry'' -- yes, THE Steve Perry of Journey. ''The riff on 'Greatest Hits Live' on 'Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' -- he just tears it up.''
NEXT On CD, a recording of the 1999 Off Broadway musical ''Bright Lights, Big City,'' and on the big screen, a thriller called ''Hard Candy,'' which begins shooting this month.