Hugh Panaro Rejoins THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Today; Mary Michael Patterson Takes Over as 'Christine'
Principal cast changes have 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 this year celebrated an unprecedented 25 Years in New York, where it plays at The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street). The following principal cast updates take effect today.
As previously announced, Broadway's 25th Anniversary Phantom Hugh Panaro returns to the title role today, Monday, August 26, after having earned rave reviews as Jean Valjean in The St. Louis MUNY production of LES MISERABLES. 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, which he's since done in three separate engagements for over 2,000 performances and counting. His combined PHANTOM performance count in both roles is approaching 3,000 times.
Mr. Panaro succeeds International Platinum-selling recording artist and 2-time Swedish Tony Award-winning European stage star Peter Jöback. Mr. Jöback stepped into the New York production for a limited 4-month summer engagement following his starring as The Phantom in the London production in 2012. Mr. Jöback played his final Broadway performance on Saturday, August 24.
Mary Michael Patterson, who last month made her PHANTOM debut as Broadway's newest Christine (as the Christine Alternate), will take over as the Principal Christine. She is the eighteenth actress to do so in the New York production (not including Alternates and understudies). The Principal Christine plays six performances a week with the Christine Alternate playing two.
The current Christine, international PHANTOM star Marni Raab, will resume performances as the Christine Alternate. Ms. Raab will play Wednesday matinees and Thursday evenings. Ms. Raab has a long, unique history with the show, including numerous engagements with the New York production and the U.S. Tour as well as originating the role of Christine for the Asian World Tour. On Broadway, she's played the role of Christine nearly 800 times, making her the fifth longest-running Christine in the production's history.
Jeremy Hays will be making his PHANTOM debut in the role of Raoul, the third romantic lead in the musical. He made his Broadway debut in the first revival of LES MISERABLES and went on to originate the role of Enjolras for the 25th Anniversary production at Paper Mill Playhouse and the subsequent National Tour. He also toured the U.S. as Rum Tum Tugger in Cats. Regionally, he has starred in productions of Hair,Camelot, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Oklahoma! and West Side Story.
Mr. Hays succeeds Kyle Barisich, who's played the role of Raoul on Broadway for over 2 years. Mr. Barisich has a long history with the show, first joining the National Tour in October 2006 as a member of the Ensemble and covering Raoul. After several engagements in the touring Ensemble, he assumed the role of Raoul in November 2008, playing it in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In March 2008, he played his first of several engagements with the New York Company in the Ensemble and covering Raoul. He assumed the principal role in June 2011, which he's done to date, including as part of the celebrated 25th Anniversary Cast.
As previously announced, former PHANTOM-Toronto star Laird Mackintosh will join the Broadway production as theater manager Monsieur André. The Canadian-born performer made his musical theater debut in the original Canadian production of PHANTOM in 1993 playing the role of Raoul for three years. He also covered the title role, giving numerous performances in the part. In total, he gave over 2000 performances of the show at Toronto's Pantages Theatre. Mr. Mackintosh succeeds Jim Weitzer, who assumed the role of André as part of the production's 25th Anniversary Cast. His final performance was Saturday, July 27. He will return to the role of Monsieur Reyer beginning Monday, September 9.