It was announced yesterday by Broadway.com that Norm Lewis will be the new Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera,” in May this year and not only that but he will be the first African American to portray the Phantom on Broadway. And that is not all of the casting news; he will be co-staring with his former “The Little Mermaid” co-star, Sierra Boggess, who will come back to “Phantom” as Christine.
Lewis was Javert in the “Les Miserables 25th anniversary” along with many other roles in different productions, but being the Phantom is his dream role.
“That’s one of my roles I’ve always wanted to play,” Lewis said.
There has been a lot of talk about these two co-staring as “lovers” in “Phantom” because in “The Little Mermaid” they were father-daughter, with Lewis as King Triton and Boggess as Ariel. In real life the two are very close and even call each other father and daughter, but they are not letting that get in the way of their roles in “Phantom.” Boggess even joked about it on Twitter.
The talk about this famous “father-daughter” duet being in “Phantom” is a bit out of hand as it has happened before with “Les Miserables” stage actors and actresses such as John Owen-Jones and Katie Hall in the 25th London tour, as well as Colm Wilkinson and Rebecca Caine in the original Canadian cast. There is really no need for the father-daughter controversy.
Some “Phans” are upset that Lewis will be replacing current Broadway Phantom, Hugh Panaro. Lewis and Panaro are friends in real life, so we know that Pararo is fine with it.
I personally am fine with Lewis going into the role as Phantom. He has a great voice and is a great actor. Boggess has played the role of Christine in “Phantom” 3 times already in Vegas, the 25th anniversary in London and the 25th anniversary in New York. I have no doubt that these two will be great as the Phantom and Christine.