On May 12 of this year, Norm Lewis became the first-ever African-American actor to take on the lead role of The Phantom of the Opera on (ahem) the Great White Way. (Robert Guillaume became the first-ever actor to do it regionally in 1990.)
Lewis, best known as Audra McDonald’s crook-walked would-be suitor in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and Scandal’s broken-up Senator Edison Davis, has been earning plaudits for his smooth take on the tortured night dweller/crooner opposite Sierra Boggess as the lovelorn Christine Daae. Fan favorite Boggess also played Christine in the Phantom sequel musical Love Never Dies in London in 2010—and as Ariel in Disney’s 2008 production of the The Little Mermaid, played daughter to Lewis’ King Triton.
In the clip below, Boggess’s Christine falls under the spell of Lewis’s masked man to the signature solo “The Music of the Night” and slowly, gently, “Night” unfurls its splendor. (That falsetto, who knew?) Lewis’s inimitable vocal prowess on this Andrew Lloyd Webber tune is one of several reasons that Phantom remains a $6 billion enterprise that has run for over 26 years.
The Phantom of the Opera is currently running at the Majestic Theatre in New York. For tickets and additional information, visit the show’s official website.