Broadway Welcomes Its First Black 'Phantom' Lead

May 13, 2014 - 3:05 PM

Theater Phantom of the Opera

This May 12, 2014 photo released by The Publicity Office shows, front row from left, Jeremy Hays, Norm Lewis, and Sierra Boggess acknowledging applause on opening night for Lewis and Boggess after the Broadway production of "The Phantom of the Opera" at The Majestic Theatre, in New York. Lewis is the first African-American actor to take on the title role in Broadway's “The Phantom of the Opera.” (AP Photo/The Publicity Office, Bruce Glikas)

NEW YORK (AP) — A thunderous standing ovation congratulated Norm Lewis as he became the first black actor to take on the title role in Broadway's "The Phantom of the Opera."

The Tony Award nominee, who brought his deep and rich voice as Porgy to the recent "Porgy and Bess" revival, made his "Phantom" debut Monday night opposite a returning Sierra Boggess as Christine.

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

Lewis is the first black Phantom on Broadway, although Robert Guillaume played the role in the Los Angeles production in 1990. Lewis' debut in the musical makes him Broadway's 13th Phantom.

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Online: http://www.thephantomoftheopera.com/new-york