'Phantom of the Opera' welcomes first black lead

'Phantom of the Opera' welcomes first black lead

March 20th, 2014 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

Actor Norm Lewis attends the 78th Annual Drama League Awards in New York.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Norm Lewis has been tapped to be Broadway's next Phantom in the megahit "The Phantom of the Opera," a move that makes him the first black to slip behind the famous mask.

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

"I'm overwhelmed. The idea of doing something that I've always wanted to do and it coming to fruition is amazing," Lewis said in a phone interview Thursday.

Lewis called it a dream job for two reasons: "I love the show but also to have hopefully set a precedent to see more diversity in casting," he said.

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."