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Trista Moldovan, Heather McFadden Join Cast of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

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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).

National Tour star Trista Moldovan will be making her Broadway debut when she assumes the leading role of Christine Daaé beginning Friday, December 9. Ms. Moldovan is the fifteenth actress to take over as the Broadway production's leading lady.

Cast member Heather McFadden will return to the role of inquisitive ballerina Meg Giry beginning Monday, January 16. She'll reunite with onstage "mom" Cristin J. Hubbard, who recently returned to the role of mysterious ballet instructor Madame Giry on Monday, October 31.

Trista Moldovan has a long history with PHANTOM, having first joined the National Tour in June 2008 as a member of the Ensemble and covering the role of Christine. She quickly assumed the role of Christine only two months later, earning a Denver Ovation nomination as Best Actress. She continued to perform the role for over two years, most notably having the distinction of playing it as part of the closing company in Los Angeles in October 2010. The spectacular event, featuring a special on stage presentation by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and original star Sarah Brightman, marked the end of the most successful touring show in U.S. history. With an unprecedented combined total of 36 years and over 14,500 performances, three U.S. national touring companies (not including the New York production) grossed over $1.5 billion between 1989 and 2010.

PHANTOM will mark Ms. Moldovan's Broadway debut. Her other stage credits include Cosette in the Regional premiere of Les Misérables, Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Louise in Gypsy, Sally in Cabaret, Sarah in Guys and Dolls, Billy Dawn in Born Yesterday and Carla in Nine. She also enjoyed the honor of working with Julie Andrews in the musical Simeon's Gift at The Bay Street Theatre.

Ms. Moldovan succeeds Sara Jean Ford, who will play her final performance as Christine on Saturday evening, December 3. Ms. Ford originally made her PHANTOM debut with the Broadway Company in 2007 as the Mirror Bride and covering the role of Christine. She then took over the role of Christine on the National Tour in September 2007, playing it for nearly a year. She assumed the role of Christine with the Broadway Company in September 2010.

Heather McFadden first took over the role of Meg with the Broadway Company in August 2003, after having previously played the role on the National Tour. Her 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.

Ms. McFadden will succeed Jessi Bishop, who will play her final performance as Meg on Saturday evening, January 14. Ms. Bishop previously played the role on the National Tour from April 2008 to February 2010. She assumed the role with the Broadway Company in July 2010.

Cristin J. Hubbard first joined the Broadway production as a member of the Ensemble in January 2009, playing her first engagement as Madame Giry in June 2009. Her other New York credits include the Broadway production of The Pirate Queen as well as Chess: In Concert starring Josh Groban and Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill. Regional work includes both A Little Night Music and Man of La Mancha at Goodspeed Opera House and a tour of The Boyfriend directed by Julie Andrews.

Continuing in their roles with the New York Company are Hugh Panaro (The Phantom), Kyle Barisich (Raoul), Michele McConnell (Carlotta), Aaron Galigan-Stierle (Monsieur André), Kevin Ligon (Monsieur Firmin) and Christian Sêbek (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 2,400 performances – which by itself would be a smash hit 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 15 years in November 2011.

On Broadway, since its debut on January 26, 1988, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has grossed over $835 million, making it the highest-grossing show in Broadway history. Total attendance is over 14.5 million and it is the winner of 7 Tony Awards including Best Musical. 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 $5.6 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 $2.7 billion). Worldwide, over 65,000 performances have been seen by 130 million people in 27 countries and 145 cities. The flagship London production, which opened in 1986 at Her Majesty's Theatre, celebrated 25 years in October. The show has won more than 60 major theater awards, including seven Tony Awards and three Olivier Awards in the West End.

There are currently six productions around the world: London, New York, Budapest (Hungary), Kyoto (Japan), Cape Town (South Africa) and a revised production in Las Vegas at The Venetian. The next international opening will be Johannesberg (South Africa) in January 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. 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 (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.

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