*Tony-nominated actor Norm Lewis, known to “Scandal” fans as the senator who tried to wife Olivia Pope, will become the first African-American to wear the iconic Phantom mask in Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera.
The veteran stage actor, who starred as Porgy in the recent “Porgy and Bess” revival, takes over the Phantom role opposite a returning Sierra Boggess as Christine beginning May 12, producers announced Thursday.
“I’m overwhelmed. The idea of doing something that I’ve always wanted to do and it coming to fruition is amazing,” Lewis told the Associated Press Thursday.
Lewis called Phantom 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.”
Lewis will be the first black Phantom on Broadway, though Robert Guillaume played the role in the Los Angeles production in 1990.
Based on a novel by Gaston Leroux, “Phantom” tells the story of a deformed composer who haunts the Paris Opera House and falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lavish songs include “Masquerade,” “Angel of Music,” “All I Ask of You,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “The Music of the Night.”
Lewis will join a list of Phantoms since the show opened in 1988 that includes Michael Crawford, Steve Barton, John Cudia, Kevin Gray, Mark Jacoby, Marcus Lovett, Brad Little, Howard McGillin and Hugh Panaro.
The musical has played to over 130 million people in 27 countries and has grossed over $5.6 billion worldwide – more than any film in history, including “Avatar,” “Titanic,” “Gone With the Wind” and “Star Wars.”