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posted: 5/14/2014 5:15 AM

Broadway welcomes its first black 'Phantom' lead

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  • This May 12, 2014 photo released by The Publicity Office shows Norm Lewis, left, and Sierra Boggess acknowledging applause on the pair's opening night with 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."

      This May 12, 2014 photo released by The Publicity Office shows Norm Lewis, left, and Sierra Boggess acknowledging applause on the pair's opening night with 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."

 
By Mark Kennedy
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- 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.

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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, though 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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