Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

May 12: Tony Award Nominee Norm Lewis Debuts as ‘The Phantom’ and Sierra Boggess Returns as Christine in Phantom of The Opera

Norm Lewis. Photo by Lia Chang

Norm Lewis. Photo by Lia Chang

On Monday, May 12, 2014, Tony Award nominee Norm Lewis, who most recently triumphed in the legendary role of Porgy in The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, returns to Broadway in another legendary role as The Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, directed by Harold Prince. Mr. Lewis will become the first African-American performer to star as The Phantom in the New York production. In 1990, the Tony Award nominee Robert Guillaume played the role when he succeeded original star Michael Crawford in the Los Angeles production.

He’ll be joined by Broadway and West End star Sierra Boggess, who received tremendous acclaim starring as Christine Daaé in both the musical’s London 25th Anniversary production at Royal Albert Hall and the Broadway 25th Anniversary cast last year.

Cameron Mackintosh said, “Having worked with Norm since the 90s, when he played John in Miss Saigon on Broadway, and then Javert on Broadway in Les Misérables in 2006, I couldn’t be more thrilled that he is now joining PHANTOM, matched with Sierra – one of the finest Christines ever. It’s hard to imagine a more exciting pairing, as the show continues its phenomenal, history-making run at The Majestic.”

“This is wonderful news!” said Andrew Lloyd Webber. “I can’t wait to see Sierra Boggess and Norm Lewis perform together as Christine and Phantom. Broadway audiences are in for a treat.”

One of this generation’s most acclaimed Broadway leading men, Norm Lewis earned 2012 Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle award nominations and considerable acclaim for his starring performance in The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. His history with Cameron Mackintosh includes starring as Javert in the 2006 Broadway reimagining of Les Misérables and stretches back to making his Broadway debut as John in Miss Saigon. In 2010, he was invited to play Javert in both the original record-breaking West End production of Les Misérables and the all-star 25th Anniversary Concert at London’s 02 Arena. He’s also starred on Broadway in Sondheim on Sondheim, The Little Mermaid, Chicago and the cult classic Side Show, as well as appearing in Amour, The Wild Party and The Who’s Tommy. Off-Broadway, he earned an AUDELCO Award and Drama Desk nomination for Desssa Rose and a Drama League nomination for The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Sierra Boggess’ unique history with the musical began when she was cast as one of the youngest actresses ever to play Christine Daaé, which she originated in the hit, revised Las Vegas production in 2006. Her performances with the Vegas production and the recent London and New York 25th Anniversaries were greeted with spectacular acclaim. For her special limited engagement with the New York company, she earned a Broadway.com Award. Further cementing her claim with the PHANTOM family, the American performer in London originated the same role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical sequel to THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Love Never Dies, earning her a 2011 Olivier Award nomination. In 2011, Ms. Boggess also starred in the original record-breaking London production of Les Misérables as Fantine. Her other starring Broadway credits include Terrence McNally’s Master Class and originating the title role in Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Drama Desk and Drama League nominations and Broadway.com Award for Favorite Breakthrough Performance).

Mr. Lewis and Ms. Boggess will be reuniting on Broadway for the first time since starring opposite each other in the original production of The Little Mermaid in 2008.

Mr. Lewis will succeed long-running, acclaimed Phantom Hugh Panaro. 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, first in 1999 and which he’s since done in four separate engagements, including the 25th Anniversary, for over 2,100 performances and counting.

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Jun. 23: The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall Features Chapman Roberts, Norm Lewis, André De Shields, Chuck Cooper, Brandon Victor Dixon and More
Apr. 29-May 17: Gordana Rashovich, Mia Dillon and Brian Murray Lead Cast of Westport Country Playhouse’s A SONG AT TWILIGHT
May 19: The Orphan of Zhao’s BD Wong and A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff in Conversation at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater
Jun. 4-29: Tony Award–winner BD Wong Leads Cast of A.C.T.’s U.S. Premiere of Orphan of Zhao, a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse
May 1-30: Eating Cultures, A Multidisciplinary Art Exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center, Features Christine Toy Johnson, Cathy Lu, Genevieve Erin O’Brien, Kate Hers Rhee and More
Photos: André Braugher, Ami Brabson, Christine Toy Johnson, Antoinette LaVecchia, Richard Topol, Victor Williams, Nikkole Salter, Elizabeth Van Dyke at Oni Faida Lampley’s Tough Titty at the Paradise Factory
Photos: Harriet Harris, John Tartaglia, Christine Toy Johnson, Alan Muraoka, James Saito and More celebrate Ann Harada’s Debut at Lincoln Center in the American Songbook Series 
Lucille Lortel Awards for Here Lies Love, Fun Home, The Open House, Good Person of Szechwan
Jun. 4-29: Tony Award–winner BD Wong Leads Cast of A.C.T.’s U.S. Premiere of Orphan of Zhao, a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder Leads 2014 Tony Award Nominations; Bryan Cranston, LaTanya Richardson, Neil Patrick Harris, Mark Rylance, Audra McDonald, Leigh Silverman among nominees
Signature Theatre to Be Honored with the 2014 Regional Theatre Tony Award
Photos: Late Night with Holy Land’s Jojo Gonzalez
Miss Saigon’s Francis Jue Receives Elliot Norton Award Nomination for Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actor
Kerry Butler, Edward James Hyland, Matt Walton, Megan Sikora and More in Previews of Off-Broadway Production of Under My Skin at The Little Shubert Theatre
Photos: The George Gee Swing Orchestra at SWING46; Launches Indiegogo Campaign for New CD, Swing Makes You Happy
Photos: Bryan Cranston, Peter Jay Fernandez, Roslyn Ruff, Tamara Tunie, Leslie Uggams, Ruben Santiago-Hudson Celebrate All The Way Opening Night
May 8: New Dramatists Presents Reading of Lonnie Carter’s Bronzeville Featuring André De Shields, Nambi Evelyn Kelley, April Matthis, and Danyon Davis
André De Shields, Mary Zimmerman, Among 4 Elliot Norton Award Nominations for Huntington’s World Premiere of The Jungle Book, a co-production with The Goodman
André De Shields, Adam Chanler-Berat, Kyle Beltran, Kevin Mambo and More Set for DTC’s World Premiere Musical The Fortress of Solitude, A Co-Production with The Public Theater
Photos: André De Shields, Michael Shannon, Rajiv Joseph, Christine Sherrill, Doug Peck, Alexis J. Rogers, Karen Ziemba and More Celebrate 2013 Jeff Equity Awards
Apr. 22 – May 18: Working Theater Presents The off-Broadway Premiere of James McManus’ CHERRY SMOKE at Urban Stages
Photos: AALDEF Honors Mari Matsuda, Aasif Mandvi, and John Chou in 2014 at 40th Anniversary Celebration
Jun. 22 – July 27: Richard Thomas and Kristen Connolly Set for Old Globe Debut in OTHELLO
Photos: Backstage and Opening Night of Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards
Q & A with Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play’s Garth Kravits
Photos: Backstage with Michi Barall and the cast of Regina Taylor’s stop.reset. at Signature Theatre
Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party
Celebrating my mom – AN ACTIVE VISION: BEVERLY UMEHARA…LABOR ACTIVIST…1945-1999 Crafting a Career
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia recently starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lorey Hayes, Marcus Naylor and Phynjuar, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York.  She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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