Breaking News: Broadway Stars Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess to Take Over in PHANTOM This May!
This just in! Producers Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group just announced that THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA will welcome a starry musical combination beginning Monday, May 12, at the Majestic Theater on Broadway, where the long-running musical is now in its 26th year.
On that date, Tony Award nominee Norm Lewis, who most recently triumphed in the legendary role of Porgy in The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess and dazzled at Lincoln Center's American Songbook, will return to Broadway in the ultimate musical role as The Phantom. Mr. Lewis will become the first African-American performer to star as The Phantom in the Broadway production. In 1990, Tony Award nominee Robert Guillaume played the role when he succeeded the musical's original star Michael Crawford in the Los Angeles production. On that same date, Broadway and West End star Sierra Boggess, who received tremendous acclaim starring as Christine Daaé in both the musical's London 25th Anniversary production at Royal Albert Hall and the Broadway 25th Anniversary cast last year, will return to the role in the New York production. It should also be noted that Boggess has the distinction of having played Christine as well, in the world premiere production of LOVE NEVER DIES, the sequel, also planned by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Mr. Lewis and Ms. Boggess will be reuniting on Broadway for the first time since starring opposite each other in the original production of The Little Mermaid (as father and daughter!) in 2008.
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 MISERABLES 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."
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 MISERABLES 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 MISERABLES 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 MISERABLES 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).
Mr. 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. To order tickets, visit www.Telecharge.com or call (212) 239-6200. Beginning April 3, the production will add Thursday matinees (replacing Wednesday matinees). As of that date, the new performance schedule will be Monday evenings at 8, Tuesday evenings at 7, Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8, with matinees Thursdays and Saturdays at 2.
Norm Lewis (The Phantom of the Opera) was last seen as Senator Edison Davis on the ABC drama "Scandal." He recently received Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle award nominations for his performance as Porgy in the Broadway production of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. Other Broadway credits include Sondheim on Sondheim, The Little Mermaid, LES MISERABLES, Chicago, Amour, The Wild Party, Side Show, Miss Saigon and The Who's Tommy. In London's West End he has appeared in LES MISERABLES and LES MISERABLES: The 25th Anniversary Concert, which aired on PBS. Off-Broadway, Mr. Lewis has appeared in The Tempest (Public Theater), Dessa Rose (Drama Desk nomination, AUDELCO Award), The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Drama League nomination), Captains Courageous and A New Brain, as well as Ragtime with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall. His Regional credits include Porgy in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess (A.R.T.), Ragtime, Dreamgirls (with Jennifer Holliday), First You Dream, Sweeney Todd and The Fantasticks. On Film, he has appeared in Winter's Tale, Sex and the City 2, Confidences and Preaching to the Choir. His additional television credits include "Blue Bloods," "Mystery Woman," "All My Children," "As the World Turns," "Cosby" and "Strong Medicine." He has released the solo recording Norm Lewis: This Is the Life!. Learn more at normlewis.com.
Sierra Boggess (Christine Daaé). Broadway credits include Christine Daaé in the 25th Anniversary engagement of The Phantom of the Opera, Sharon in the revival of Master Class (opposite Tyne Daly) and originating the title role in The Little Mermaid (Drama Desk and Drama League nominations, Broadway.com Audience Choice Award). Her London credits include LES MISERABLES, the 25th Anniversary concerts of The Phantom of the Opera at Royal Albert Hall and Love Never Dies (Olivier Award nomination). Her other New York theater credits include the final Off-Broadway cast of Love, Loss, and What I Wore; and Music in the Air for City Center's Encores! series. She also starred as Christine in the Las Vegas production of The Phantom of the Opera. Regionally, she has been seen in Princesses (World Premiere, Goodspeed Opera House and Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre) and the National Tour of LES MISERABLES. Her recordings include the 25th Anniversary concert of The Phantom of the Opera (also on DVD), the symphonic recording of Love Never Dies, The Little Mermaid and Andrew Lippa's A Little Princess. Concert appearances include the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall, Lincoln Center's American Songbook series The Lyrics of David Zippel, The New York Pops at Lincoln Center, and Broadway by the Year at Town Hall. After two sold-out shows this past August, she returned to 54 Below in December to celebrate the release of her first solo recording, Live at 54 Below. She will be seen as Sarah Brown in the upcoming one night only Carnegie Hall concert of Guys & Dolls opposite Nathan Lane, Patrick Wilson and Megan Mullally.
Cameron Mackintosh (Producer), for nearly 50 years, has been producing more musicals than anyone else in history, including the three longest-running musicals of all time, LES MISERABLES, The Phantom of the Opera and Cats. In May, his international hit new production of Miss Saigon will open in London, where advance ticket sales are breaking records. Later this year, Cameron's successful new production of Barnum (co-produced with Chichester and Michael Harrison) will begin a UK tour and in the autumn he will also produce a new production of Stephen Sondheim's Putting It Together. Other worldwide successes include Mary Poppins (co-produced with Disney), Little Shop of Horrors, Side by Side by Sondheim, Five Guys Named Moe, The Witches of Eastwick and his re-inventions of Oliver!, My Fair Lady, Oklahoma! and Carousel. Cameron, with Working Title and Universal, produced the hugely-successful award-winning film version of LES MISERABLES. He owns seven West End theatres: Prince of Wales, Gielgud, Queen's, Wyndham's Noel Coward, Novello and Prince Edward, all of which have been spectacularly refurbished. He's also the co-owner of Music Theatre International, the world's largest library of secondary rights of the great musicals. Cameron was knighted in the 1996 New Year's Honours for his services to the British Theatre and has recently been the first British producer elected to the Theater Hall of Fame.
Andrew Lloyd Webber (Composer/Book/Co-Orchestrator) Andrew Lloyd Webber is the composer of The Likes of Us, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, By Jeeves, Evita, Variations and Tell Me on a Sunday later combined as Song & Dance, Cats, Starlight Express, The Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard, Whistle Down the Wind, The Beautiful Game, The Woman in White, Love Never Dies and Stephen Ward. He composed the film scores of Gumshoe and The Odessa File and a setting of the Latin Requiem mass. As well as many of his own shows, his producer credits include Daisy Pulls It Off, Lend Me a Tenor, Shirley Valentine, La Bête, the ground-breaking Bollywood musical, A R Rahman's Bombay Dreams, his smash hit productions of The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium and the films of The Phantom of the Opera and the acclaimed Australian production of Love Never Dies. He pioneered television casting for musical theatre with the Emmy Award-winning BBC series How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?. His awards include seven Tonys, three Grammys including Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Requiem, seven Oliviers, a Golden Globe, an Oscar, two International Emmys, the Praemium Imperiale, the Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre, a BASCA Fellowship and the Kennedy Center Honor. He currently owns six London theatres, including the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and the London Palladium. His future projects include support for the breeding programme of the increasingly rare Turkish swimming cat at Van in Eastern Turkey. He was knighted in 1992 and created an honorary life peer in 1997.
The Really Useful Group (Producer) is Andrew Lloyd Webber's theatre producing and rights licensing company and controls the theatrical rights for all of his works, including The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and Sunset Boulevard. The Really Useful Group reached over 20 million people across the globe last year from live theatre and concert audiences, cinema goers, television viewers and music fans, to social media and art lovers. 2014 will see The Really Useful Group continue to work across film, television and theatre as it produces and develops new projects and partnerships worldwide alongside its ongoing work in education, amateur licensing and music publishing.
Harold Prince (Director) directed the premiere productions of Cabaret, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, The Phantom of the Opera, She Loves Me, Company, Follies, Candide, Pacific Overtures, Evita and Parade. Before becoming a director, Mr. Prince's productions included The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Fiorello! and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Among the plays he has directed are Hollywood Arms, The Visit, The Great God Brown, End of the World, Play Memory and his own play, Grandchild of Kings. His opera productions have been seen at Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Vienna Staatsoper and the Theater Colon in Buenos Aires. He served as a trustee for the New York Public Library and on the National Council of the Arts of the NEA. He is the recipient of a National Medal of Arts for the year 2000 from President Clinton for a career spanning more than 40 years, in which "he changed the nature of the American musical." In 2010, he received the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's Monte Cristo Award. The recipient of 21 Tony Awards, he was a 1994 Kennedy Center Honoree.
Photo by Walter McBride