Principal cast changes have been announced for the Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, the longest-running show in Broadway history. Produced by Cameron Mackintosh/Really Useful Group, Inc. and directed by Harold Prince, the musical phenomenon this year celebrated an unprecedented 25 Years in New York, where it plays at The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street). The following cast changes (some previously-announced, some new) will all take place the week of August 26:
- As previously announced, Broadway’s 25th Anniversary Phantom Hugh Panaro returns to the title role on Monday, August 26, after having earned rave reviews as Jean Valjean in The St. Louis MUNY production of Les Misérables. Mr. Panaro’s long association with PHANTOM stretches back to 1989, when he first played the role of Raoul for almost 1,000 performances. He was later invited to take over the starring role, which he’s since done in three separate engagements for over 2,000 performances and counting. His combined PHANTOM performance count in both roles is approaching 3,000 times.
- Mr. Panaro succeeds International Platinum-selling recording artist and 2-time Swedish Tony Award-winning European stage star Peter Jöback. Mr. Jöback stepped into the New York production for a limited 4-month summer engagement following his starring as The Phantom in the London production in 2012. Mr. Jöback will play his final Broadway performances on Saturday, August 24.
- Mary Michael Patterson, who last month made her PHANTOM debut as Broadway’s newest Christine (as the Christine Alternate), will take over as the Principal Christine. She is the eighteenth actress to do so in the New York production (not including Alternates and understudies). The Principal Christine plays six performances a week with the Christine Alternate playing two.
- The current Christine, international PHANTOM star Marni Raab, will resume performances as the Christine Alternate. Ms. Raab will play Wednesday matinees and Thursday evenings. Ms. Raab has a long, unique history with the show, including numerous engagements with the New York production and the U.S. Tour as well as originating the role of Christine for the Asian World Tour. On Broadway, she’s played the role of Christine nearly 800 times, making her the fifth longest-running Christine in the production’s history.
- Jeremy Hays will be making his PHANTOM debut in the role of Raoul, the third romantic lead in the musical. He made his Broadway debut in the first revival of Les Misérables and went on to originate the role of Enjolras for the 25th Anniversary production at Paper Mill Playhouse and the subsequent National Tour. He also toured the U.S. as Rum Tum Tugger in Cats. Regionally, he has starred in productions of Hair, Camelot, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Oklahoma! and West Side Story.
- Mr. Hays succeeds Kyle Barisich, who’s played the role of Raoul on Broadway for over 2 years. Mr. Barisich has a long history with the show, first joining the National Tour in October 2006 as a member of the Ensemble and covering Raoul. After several engagements in the touring Ensemble, he assumed the role of Raoul in November 2008, playing it in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In March 2008, he played his first of several engagements with the New York Company in the Ensemble and covering Raoul. He assumed the principal role in June 2011, which he’s done to date, including as part of the celebrated 25th Anniversary Cast.
- As previously announced, former PHANTOM-Toronto star Laird Mackintosh will join the Broadway production as theater manager Monsieur André. The Canadian-born performer made his musical theater debut in the original Canadian production of PHANTOM in 1993 playing the role of Raoul for three years. He also covered the title role, giving numerous performances in the part. In total, he gave over 2000 performances of the show at Toronto’s Pantages Theatre. Mr. Mackintosh succeeds Jim Weitzer, who assumed the role of André as part of the production’s 25th Anniversary Cast. His final performance will be Saturday, July 27. He will return to the role of Monsieur Reyer beginning Monday, September 9.
Continuing in their roles with the New York Company are Tim Jerome (Firmin), Michele McConnell (Carlotta), Ellen Harvey (Madame Giry), Christian Sêbek (Piangi) and Kara Klein (Meg).
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA became the longest-running show in Broadway history on January 9, 2006 with its 7,486th performance (surpassing the previous record-holder Cats, also by Andrew Lloyd Webber and also produced by Mackintosh). Incredibly, since breaking that record, PHANTOM has played both an additional 7 years and over 3,000 performances – which by itself would be a smash hit run for a Broadway musical. This year it became the first show ever to celebrate 25 Years – an unprecedented milestone in Broadway history – on January 26, 2013.
On Broadway, since its debut on January 26, 1988, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has grossed over $920 million. Even now – as it celebrates its 25th Anniversary Year on Broadway – it is consistently among Broadway’s highest-grossing shows and remains a box office champ. Earlier this year, the production shattered the house record at The Majestic by having its best weekly gross in its entire 25-year history. Total attendance is now over 15.5 million and it continues to play with no end in sight.
The musical’s international success – equally staggering – is represented by total worldwide grosses estimated at over $5.6 billion. This colossal figure makes PHANTOM the most successful entertainment venture of all time, with revenues higher than any film or stage play in history, including Titanic, Star Wars and far surpassing the world’s highest-grossing film Avatar (at $2.8 billion). Worldwide, over 65,000 performances have been seen by 130 million people in 29 countries and 150 cities in 13 languages.
The flagship London production, which opened in 1986 at Her Majesty’s Theatre, celebrated 25 years in October 2011. That milestone was celebrated with a special production at London’s Royal Albert Hall to tremendous acclaim. A live recording was released on CD by Decca and a DVD of the event was released by Universal Home Entertainment.
There are currently seven productions around the world: the flagship London production (26 Years and counting), New York (25 Years and counting), Kyoto (Japan, 25 Years and counting), Budapest (Hungary), Singapore and Cameron Mackintosh’s all-new production of the musical which is currently enjoying a record-breaking UK National Tour, which will tour North America, launching in Providence this November. The next international openings will be in Hamburg (Germany) and Shanghai (China), both in December 2013.
The show has won more than 70 major theater awards, including seven 1988 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and three Olivier Awards in the West End. The original cast recording, with over 40 million copies sold worldwide, is the best-selling cast recording of all time. In September 2010, student productions of PHANTOM started being licensed through R&H Theatricals, and so far have been performed at hundreds of high schools and colleges across the U.S. and in Canada.
Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is produced by Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Theatre Company, Inc., has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is directed by Harold Prince. Lyrics are by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe) and the book is by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has production design by the late Maria Björnson, lighting by Andrew Bridge and sound design by Mick Potter with original sound by Martin Levan. Musical staging and choreography is by Gillian Lynne. Orchestrations are by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The performance schedule for THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is Monday evenings at 8PM, Tuesday evenings at 7PM, Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8PM, with matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2PM. Ticket prices range from $27 – $137 with Premium Tickets also available. To order tickets, visit Telecharge.com or call (212) 239-6200.