Saturday, June 21, 2014

Meet Norm Lewis, Broadway’s First Black ‘Phantom (Phantom Of The Opera)

The Great White Way shouldn't live too literally up to its name. Norm Lewis, the first black actor to play The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, tells The Daily Beast why theater producers must cast more ethnic minority actors.

 Unsurprisingly, Norm Lewis sounds a little overwhelmed. An hour before we speak it was announced that from May 12 he will be the new Phantom of the Opera, and he’ll be the first African-American actor to play the role on Broadway. “I’ve known for about a month and couldn’t say anything,” he says breathlessly. “Now it’s out there and I can tell people—and, yes, something of this magnitude…” His voice tails off.

Robert Guillaume, who played the Phantom in Los Angeles in 1990, best known to TV audiences as the title character on the sitcom Benson, is the only other black actor ever to have played the role. Lewis says Guillaume “paved the way” for him on Broadway, where Phantom has been running for over 25 years—the longest running show there.
“It’s taken 26 years,” Lewis says, laughing, “but this has been a dream role of mine. And it is about so much more, it’s so much deeper, than me just doing it. It hopefully shows other people of color that lead roles, key roles, which do not have a ‘color’ attached to them, are open to them if they have the talent. I hope this sets a precedent. I want people to see that.”

To read more visit  visit Norm Lewis twitter /normlewis777  and Mr Lewis is featured on Who's That Lady Ent, Who's That Guy Section!NORM-LEWIS/zoom/cgrd/imageux7

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