Producers Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group announced today a new leading man for the Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, directed by Harold Prince. The longest-running show in Broadway history, and one of the most successful stage productions of all-time, PHANTOM will welcome Broadway star James Barbour when he takes over the title role beginning Monday, February 9, 2015.
Having last year surpassed 11,000 performances – an unprecedented feat achieved by no other Broadway show – the New York production of PHANTOM is approaching an unheard-of 27 Years. It will celebrate this milestone on Monday, January 26 at The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street), the musical’s home for all 27 record-breaking years.
James Barbour has starred on Broadway in Carousel, Beauty & the Beast, Jane Eyre (Drama League nomination), Urinetown, Assassins and A Tale of Two Cities, for which he received Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Award nominations for Best Actor in a Musical. He made his Broadway debut in 1993 in Cyrano – The Musical and also appeared in the national tour of The Secret Garden, as well as opposite Jeremy Irons in Camelot. Most recently, Mr. Barbour received the LA Ovation Best Actor Award for playing Jean Valjean in Les Misérables. In addition to numerous film and television credits, his many recordings include his solo albums The Gift of Christmas and his most recent release, the acclaimed Bring Me Giant, as well as the cast recordings of the shows in which he has appeared.
Mr. Barbour is married to PHANTOM alumna Dana Stackpole, who has appeared as a member of the Ballet Chorus in both the Broadway and national touring companies.
Mr. Barbour will succeed the Broadway production’s current star, Tony Award nominee Norm Lewis. Mr. Lewis made history last May when he became the first African-American to star in the title role in the Broadway production. (In 1990, Tony Award nominee Robert Guillaume played the role when he succeeded original star Michael Crawford in the Los Angeles production.) As previously announced, Mr. Lewis will play his final performance on Saturday evening, February 7.
Mr. Barbour will become the 15th man to officially take over the role in the Broadway production. He follows (in order): original star Michael Crawford, Timothy Nolen, Cris Groenendaal, Steve Barton, Kevin Gray, Mark Jacoby, Marcus Lovett, Davis Gaines, Thomas James O’Leary , Hugh Panaro, Howard McGillin, John Cudia, Peter Jöback and Norm Lewis. In addition, there been five limited engagement replacements: Jeff Keller, Ted Keegan, Brad Little, Gary Mauer and Laird Mackintosh.