It’s true! Broadway veteran Norm Lewis will play the iconic dream role he’s been fighting to play for over 26 years: the Phantom of the Opera. This will be the first time an African American actor will take on the character, making history (or at least Broadway history).
Lewis, who has been very vocal about wanting to play the part, was finally heard. After going through auditions with Cameron Mackintosh and Hal Prince, the actor and singer had to keep the role of a life time under raps as publicists thought of how to best announce the historic news.
The Tony nominated performer has played practically every iconic role known to man including in Les Miserables, Porgy and Bess, and Sweeney Todd. While his role as the “Demon Barber on Fleet Street” (Sweeney Todd) was a step, this casting is a LEAP as Broadway roles no longer are strapped to a certain race.
And we’re proud that the first show (or one of the first) to take this risk was Phantom, a long running show that needs to feel fresh and new. But while this is certainly a great moment, we shouldn’t think this had nothing to do with money as the show IS in need of some financial reassurance (something that they now have instantly with the controversial casting).
And the show is set on making this a cast to remember as Sierra Boggess will return as Fantine! The beloved young star of the Great White Way is certainly familiar with the role having played the part not only in the 25th Anniversary Special but also in the production Love Never Dies.
But while we love it, there’s also an awkward angle to it. If you remember, Boggess and Lewis played opposite each other years ago in The Little Mermaid. And while that may seem fine, Sierra was Ariel and Norm was her father. Years after the show closed, they even call each other “Daughter” or “Daddy.” So them being in a love triangle for The Phantom of the Opera? A little bit weird!!!
Sure, the Phantom was kind of a mentor or father figure, but there is still a romantic aspect to their relationship. Please oh Broadway God, make the performance not extremely uncomfortable. Wouldn’t that be a shame?
Hopefully we can forget their past credentials and simply appreciate these two incredibly talented stars share the spotlight for one historic run!!!