'Phantom of the Opera' welcomes Norm Lewis as first African-American lead in Broadway production

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Image Credit: Paul Zimmerman/WireImage

Norm Lewis has been tapped to be the next Phantom in the megahit The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, a move that makes him the first African-American to slip behind the famous mask on the Great White Way.

Producers said Thursday the Tony Award nominee, who brought his deep and rich voice to Porgy in the recent Porgy and Bess revival, will make his debut opposite Sierra Boggess, who returns as Christine, beginning May 12.

Lewis played John in Broadway’s Miss Saigon, Javert in Les Miserables on Broadway in 2006, and was in the shows Side Show, The Little Mermaid, Chicago, and Sondheim on Sondheim.

Lewis will join a list of Phantoms since the show opened in 1988 that includes: Michael Crawford, Steve Barton, John Cudia, Kevin Gray, Mark Jacoby, Marcus Lovett, Brad Little, Howard McGillin, and Hugh Panaro.

Based on a novel by Gaston Leroux, Phantom tells the story of a deformed composer who haunts the Paris Opera House and falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s songs include “Masquerade,” “Angel of Music,” “All I Ask of You,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” and “The Music of the Night.”

The musical has played to over 130 million people in 27 countries and has grossed over $5.6 billion worldwide — more than any film in history, including Avatar, Titanic, Gone With the Wind and Star Wars.


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