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Kara Klein to Play Meg in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA from 6/18; Heather McFadden Plays Last Performance 6/16

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A principal cast change has been announced for the Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, the longest-running show in Broadway history. Produced by Cameron Mackintosh/Really Useful Group, Inc. and directed by Harold Prince, the musical phenomenon is in its unprecedented 25th year in New York, playing at The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street).

Current cast member Kara Klein will return to the role of inquisitive ballerina Meg Giry beginning Monday, June 18. Currently in the Ballet Chorus, she previously played Meg from March to December 2005. She made her PHANTOM debut with the National Tour in January 2001 as a member of the Ballet Chorus in January 2001. She made her Broadway debut in March 2005 with the Ballet Chorus before assuming the role of Meg. Ms. Klein returned to the Ballet Chorus in January 2006, with which she's performed (as well as understudied the role of Meg), on and off since.

Kara Klein to Play Meg in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA from 6/18; Heather McFadden Plays Last Performance 6/16Longtime cast member and 'Phan' favorite Heather McFadden will play her final performance as Meg this coming Saturday, June 16. Ms. McFadden has a long, unique history with the musical. She first joined the Broadway production in September 1997 as a member of the Ballet Chorus. In November 2000, she joined the National Tour as Meg, which she played for a year. She returned to the New York production as a member of the Ballet Chorus, eventually taking over the role of Meg in August 2003. In addition to performing with the show, Ms. McFadden became the production's Assistant Dance Captain in May 2003. Having played the role on and off over the course of the last fifteen years, Ms. McFadden has played the role of Meg on Broadway more than any other actress.

A symbol of the musical's unprecedented longevity, both ladies have taken maternity leaves during their long runs with PHANTOM: Ms. Klein once and Ms. McFadden twice. (Ms. Klein assumed the role of Meg during one of Ms. McFadden's maternity leaves.)

Concurrent with her time in the show and raising two children, Ms. McFadden also earned her Bachelor's Degree of Arts from St. Mary's College via their LEAP (Liberal Education for Arts Professionals) Program.

Kara Klein's other credits include the Broadway production of Billy Elliot; the Encores! production of Bye, Bye Birdie; Beauty & the Beast at North Shore Music Theatre; and both New York and Denver engagements of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Heather McFadden's other New York credits include the Broadway productions of Carousel (Louise u/s) and Dance of the Vampires and playing Jou-Jou in the Metropolitan Opera production of The Merry Widow starring Placido Domingo. Other national tours include Carousel, Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Continuing in their roles with the New York Company are Hugh Panaro (The Phantom), Trista Moldovan (Christine), Kyle Barisich (Raoul), Aaron Galligan-Stierle (Monsieur André), Kevin Ligon (Monsieur Firmin), Michele McConnell (Carlotta), Cristin J. Hubbard (Madame Giry) and Christian Šebek (Piangi). At certain performances, Marni Raab plays Christine.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is the longest-running show in Broadway history. Since surpassing the then-record run of Cats in January 2006, the production has played an additional 6 years and over 2,600 performances – which by itself would be a smash hit run for a Broadway musical. The closest currently-running show is the revival of Chicago, which reached 15 years in November 2011.

On Broadway, since its debut on January 26, 1988, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has grossed over $860 million. Total attendance is nearing 15 million and it is the winner of 7 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Now in its phenomenal 25th Year, the Broadway production remains a box office champ and continues to play with no end in sight. It became the first Broadway show to reach 10,000 performances (in February 2012) and is on track to become the first to celebrate 25 Years (in January 2013).

Its international success – equally staggering – is represented by total worldwide grosses estimated at over $5.6 billion. This 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 $2.7 billion). Worldwide, over 65,000 performances have been seen by 130 million people in 27 countries and 145 cities in 13 languages. The flagship London production, which opened in 1986 at Her Majesty's Theatre, celebrated 25 Years in October 2011 with a special production at The Royal Albert Hall. A live recording was released on CD by Decca and a DVD of the event was released by Universal Home Entertainment.

There are currently seven productions around the world: London, New York, Budapest (Hungary), Kyoto (Japan), Johannesberg (South Africa), a revised production in Las Vegas at The Venetian and Cameron Mackintosh's newly-conceived UK National Tour. The next international opening will be in Manila (The Philippines, in its Filipino premiere) in August 2012. In September 2010, student productions of PHANTOM started being licensed through R&H Theatricals, and so far have been performed at hundreds of high schools and colleges across the U.S., Canada and the UK.

The show has won more than 60 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.

Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L'Opéra by Gaston Leroux, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERAtells the story of a masked figure (Mr. Panaro) 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 (Ms. Moldovan with Ms. Raab at certain performances), 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 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 performance schedule for THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is Monday evenings at 8PM, Tuesday evenings at 7PM, Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8PM, with matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2PM. Ticket prices range from $26.50 - $131.50 with Premium Tickets also available. To order tickets visit telecharge.com or call (212) 239-6200.

For more, go to www.phantombroadway.com.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

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