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RECAP: Former Phantoms Talk About How They Booked the Part & Backstage Secrets on STARS IN THE HOUSE

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RECAP: Former Phantoms Talk About How They Booked the Part & Backstage Secrets on STARS IN THE HOUSE

Stars in the House continued Saturday night (8pm) with a special Phantom-themed episode, featuring Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess, Norm Lewis, Howard McGillin, and Hugh Panaro. This episode was in support of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Hugh Panaro, Ramin Karimloo, Howard McGillin, and Norm Lewis talked about how they got the role of Phantom in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.

Hugh Panaro began, "I had just finished doing SHOWBOAT for Hal [Prince] in London and he said that the gentleman playing the Phantom at present was going to take a leave of absence and said 'do you want to do six months?' That was my first time in 1999 and I didn't know how much joy it would bring me. "

Ramin chimed in, "Raoul was my first stab at the production and obviously Phantom was a dream role....when I was 25/26 I went in as a standby for a year and thankfully the position opened up and they offered me the fulltime position after that."

Then Howard shared, I did it three years on and then I took 2 years off. Hugh and I duck tailed each other two times. I had left spider woman and Hal [Prince] called and said there was an opening...I took over for Hugh and then I left to do BOUNCE which didn't bounce and Hugh took over again and then I went in after Hugh left. I was there a total of 7 years over a 10 year period."

Later Norm shared, "I finally saw THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and I saw Colm Wilkerson do the role and that day I was like 'I want to be in that show, I'd love to do that role.' But I didn't think that I would have a chance being an African American...for 20 years I kept telling everybody in interviews that I want to play this role. Finally, it came to a point where David Lye, David Catic, and I were on a panel in Washington D.C. and people were asking about minorities in Broadway and also 'what is your role you want to play?' and I said The Phantom. So they took that into account and luckily my friend, my brother, part of my family, Hugh Panero, was playing the role and didn't want to renew his contract so that slot opened up so there was a chance to go in and audition for Hal and the rest of the team and from that time I remember going out on the stage and I just remember people living and who have passed on who were my heroes, they said 'go do it. Go get it.' and that's what happened. I ended up getting it."

Sierra Boggess joined and talked about her experience as Christine in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and working with Norm and Ramin.

Howard sang "Two for the Road," Hugh sang "Moon River," Ramin sang "Tuppence."

Click HERE to watch the full episode.

Click HERE to donate to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund

Current and past episodes can be found on the website, as well as a donate button linking viewers to The Actors Fund.

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