Photo Flash: Christian Sebek, Aaron Galligan-Stierle and Kevin Ligon Join Cast of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
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 is in its unprecedented 24th year in New York, playing at The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street). Three principal performers, all new to PHANTOM, will be joining the company over the course of the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Opera leading man Christian Šebek will be making his Broadway debut as the vain tenor Piangi beginning Friday, September 2.
Mr. Šebek's Opera and Classical credits range from New York Grand Opera to Carnegie Hall, including such starring roles as Rodolfo in La Boheme, Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly, Alfredo in La Traviata and Romeo in Romeo and Juliette. He also created the role of Nathaneal in Off-Broadway's The Sandman. He succeeds Evan Harrington, who had played the role of Piangi since April 2008. Mr. Harrington's final performance was Saturday, August 20 and until Mr. Šebek's debut, the role is being played by PHANTOM Broadway and National Tour alum David Gaschen.
Mr. Galligan-Stierle has appeared on Broadway creating the role of Henry Ford in the revival of Ragtime and making his Broadway debut as Papa Who in Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He also appeared in the National Tour of Cinderella starring Lea Salonga and in the Paper Mill production of Curtains. He's on Faculty for the Musical Theater Division at the New York Film Academy.
Mr. Ligon joins PHANTOM direct from the original cast of Sister Act. His other Broadway credits include Finian's Rainbow; Young Frankenstein; The Producers (also L.A.); Kiss Me, Kate; 1776; and The Secret Garden. He won a Jefferson Award for Best Actor for his performance in the National Tour of Guys & Dolls and he played Pirelli in Sweeney Todd for The Kennedy Center's Sondheim Celebration.
Mr. Galligan-Stierle and Mr. Ligon succeed George Lee Andrews and David Cryer, both of whom will play their final performances on Saturday evening, September 3rd. Mr. Andrews and Mr. Cryer both have very long histories with PHANTOM. Mr. Andrews is an original cast member of the musical and is long recognized by Guinness World Record as the longest-running actor in the same Broadway show. Mr. Cryer joined the Broadway production in January 2006 after 12 years with the National Tour.
Both gentlemen also have long histories with director Hal Prince. Mr. Andrews previously appeared in Mr. Prince's original Broadway productions of On the Twentieth Century and A Little Night Music (also in the National Tour and directing the musical for Mr. Prince in Johannesburg, South Africa), as well as in last year's world premiere of the new musical Paradise Found in London. Mr. Cryer starred in the original Broadway production of Evita for well over 1,000 performances as Peron.
In a happy coincidence, Mr. Galligan-Stierle assumes the role of Monsieur André from Mr. Andrews, who is his father-in-law.
Continuing in their roles with the New York Company are Hugh Panaro (The Phantom), Sara Jean Ford (Christine), Kyle Barisich (Raoul), Michele McConnell (Carlotta), Marilyn Caskey (Madame Giry) and Jessica Bishop (Meg Giry). 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 5½ years and over 2,300 performances - which by itself would be a very healthy run for a Broadway musical. Its longevity is unprecedented and PHANTOM remains miles ahead of all competition. The long-closed Cats remains a distant second, having run just shy of 18 years. The closest currently-running show is the revival of Chicago, which reached 14 years in November 2010.
On Broadway, since its debut on January 26, 1988, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has grossed over $825 million, making it the highest-grossing show in Broadway history. Total attendance is 14.5 million and it is the winner of 7 Tony Awards including Best Musical. The production reached milestone performance #9,500 in November 2010 and celebrated its 23rd Anniversary in January 2011. Now in its phenomenal 24th Year, the Broadway production remains a box office camp and continues to play with no end in sight. It is on track to become the first Broadway show to reach 10,000 performances (in February 2012) and 25 Years (in January 2013).
Its international success - equally staggering - is represented by total worldwide grosses estimated at over $5 billion. This colossal figure makes PHANTOM the most successful entertainment venture of all time, surpassing not only any other stage production, but also far surpassing the world's highest-grossing film Avatar (at $2.7 billion). Worldwide, over 65,000 performances have been seen by 100 million people in 27 countries and 144 cities. The flagship London production will celebrate 25 years this October.
There are currently five productions around the world: London (which surpassed 10,000 performances in October 2010 and will celebrate 25 Years this October), New York, Budapest (Hungary), Kyoto (Japan) and a revised production in Las Vegas at The Venetian. The next major international opening will be in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2011. 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. and in Canada. 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 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 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.
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Michele McConnell, Christian Sebek
Kevin Ligon, Aaron Galligan Stierle
Michele McConnell, Christian Sebek
Michele McConnell, Christian Sebek