When Tony nominee Norm Lewis takes on the title role in The Phantom of the Opera, he will become the first African-American actor to play the role on Broadway.
Norm Lewis will star opposite Sierra Boggess, in her return to the New York production. The two stars, who previously played underwater father and daughter in The Little Mermaid on Broadway, will both begin performances on May 12th, replacing Hugh Panaro and Mary Michael Patterson, respectively.
Lewis said The Phantom was his dream role for years. “That’s one of my roles that I always wanted to play,” Lewis told Broadway.com’s Paul Wontorek on Show People, “and it’s really now to set a precedent. It doesn’t even have to be me, but there’s never been an African American to play that role except Robert Guillaume, but never one on Broadway.”
Sierra Boggess commented: “I am so honored and giddy with excitement to bring Christine to life again opposite my dearest Norm, This is a moment in time I don’t want to miss!”
Cameron Mackintosh said, “Having worked with Norm since the 90s, when he played John in Miss Saigon on Broadway, and then Javert on Broadway in Les Misérables in 2006, I couldn’t be more thrilled that he is now joining PHANTOM, matched with Sierra – one of the finest Christines ever. It’s hard to imagine a more exciting pairing, as the show continues its phenomenal, history-making run at The Majestic.”
“This is wonderful news!” said Andrew Lloyd Webber. “I can’t wait to see Sierra Boggess and Norm Lewis perform together as Christine and Phantom. Broadway audiences are in for a treat.”
One of this generation’s most acclaimed Broadway leading men, Norm Lewis earned 2012 Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle award nominations and considerable acclaim for his starring performance in The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. His history with Cameron Mackintosh includes starring as Javert in the 2006 Broadway reimagining of Les Misérables and stretches back to making his Broadway debut as John in Miss Saigon. In 2010, he was invited to play Javert in both the original record-breaking West End production of Les Misérables and the all-star 25th Anniversary Concert at London’s 02 Arena. He’s also starred on Broadway in Sondheim on Sondheim, The Little Mermaid, Chicago and the cult classic Side Show, as well as appearing in Amour, The Wild Party and The Who’s Tommy. Off-Broadway, he earned an AUDELCO Award and Drama Desk nomination for Desssa Rose and a Drama League nomination for The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
Sierra Boggess’ unique history with the musical began when she was cast as one of the youngest actresses ever to play Christine Daaé, which she originated in the hit, revised Las Vegas production in 2006. Her performances with the Vegas production and the recent London and New York 25th Anniversaries were greeted with spectacular acclaim. For her special limited engagement with the New York company, she earned a Broadway.com Award. Further cementing her claim with the PHANTOM family, the American performer in London originated the same role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical sequel to THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Love Never Dies, earning her a 2011 Olivier Award nomination. In 2011, Ms. Boggess also starred in the original record-breaking London production of Les Misérables as Fantine. Her other starring Broadway credits include Terrence McNally’s Master Class and originating the title role in Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Drama Desk and Drama League nominations and Broadway.com Award for Favorite Breakthrough Performance).
Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess will be reuniting on Broadway for the first time since starring opposite each other in the original production of The Little Mermaid in 2008.
Norm Lewis will succeed long-running, acclaimed Phantom Hugh Panaro. Mr. Panaro’s long association with PHANTOM stretches back to 1989, when he first played the role of Raoul for almost 1,000 performances. He was later invited to take over the starring role, first in 1999 and which he’s since done in four separate engagements, including the 25th Anniversary, for over 2,100 performances and counting.
Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is produced by Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group, has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is directed by Harold Prince. Lyrics are by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe) and the book is by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has production design by the late Maria Björnson, lighting by Andrew Bridge and sound design by Mick Potter with original sound by Martin Levan. Musical staging and choreography is by Gillian Lynne. Orchestrations are by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA currently stars Hugh Panaro in the title role with Mary Michael Patterson as Christine and Jeremy Hays as Raoul. The musical co-stars Laird Mackintosh (Monsieur André), Tim Jerome (Monsieur Firmin), Michele McConnell (Carlotta), Ellen Harvey (Madame Giry), Christian Šebek (Piangi) and Deanna Doyle (Meg Giry). At certain performances, Sara Jean Ford plays Christine.
The performance schedule for THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is Monday evenings at 8, Tuesday evenings at 7, Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8, with matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2. Ticket prices range from $27 – $137 with Premium Tickets also available.
On January 26, 2013, the New York production reached another historic, unprecedented milestone: becoming the first and only Broadway show ever to celebrate 25 Years. Previously, in February 2012, it became the first and only Broadway show ever to reach milestone performance #10,000. It has since surpassed 26 Years and is now approaching 11,000 performances, all with no end in sight.
Since its debut on January 26, 1988, the Broadway production has grossed over $950 million with total attendance nearing 16 million. Even now, it is consistently among Broadway’s highest-grossing shows and remains a box office champ. Earlier this year, the production shattered the house record at The Majestic by having its best weekly gross in its entire 26-year history.
The global phenomenon’s international success – equally staggering – is represented by total worldwide grosses estimated at over $5.6 billion. This colossal figure makes PHANTOM the most successful entertainment venture of all time, with revenues higher than any film or stage play in history, including Titanic, Star Wars and far surpassing the world’s highest-grossing film Avatar (at $2.8 billion). Worldwide, over 65,000 performances have been seen by 130 million people in 29 countries and 150 cities in 13 languages.
The flagship London production of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA opened October 9, 1986 at Her Majesty’s Theatre. In October 2011, it reached 25 Years, a milestone that was celebrated with a special production at London’s Royal Albert Hall to tremendous acclaim. A live recording was released on CD by Decca and a DVD of the event was released by Universal Home Entertainment. The West End production has since played more than 27 Years, and continues with no end in sight.
There are currently seven productions around the world: London (27 Years and counting), New York (26 Years and counting), Sapporo (Japan, in repertory), Budapest (Hungary), Hamburg (Germany), the Asian Pacific Tour (now in South Korea) and a spectacular all-new production now on North American Tour (next opening tomorrow, March 21 in Philadelphia).
The musical has won more than 70 major theater awards, including seven 1988 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and three Olivier Awards in the West End. The original cast recording, with over 40 million copies sold worldwide, is the best-selling cast recording of all time. Since September 2010, thousands of high school and college student productions of PHANTOM have been licensed through R&H Theatricals.
The Phantom of the Opera
Her Majesty’s Theatre