Principal cast changes announced for The Phantom of the Opera, the longest-running show in Broadway history.
Rebecca Pitcher to take over as ‘Christine’
Michael Shawn Lewis to return as ‘Raoul’
Jennifer Hope Wills to become new ‘Christine’ alternate
Roland Rusinek to join as ‘Piangi’
Box Office phenomenon is now in its 19th year with over 7,500 performances.
Four 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 is in its phenomenal 19th year in New York, playing at The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street).
Current Phantom cast member Rebecca Pitcher will take over the leading role of Christine starting Monday evening, 17th April. Ms. Pitcher originally starred as Christine on the national tour and is currently the New York Company’s Christine Alternate (playing several performances a week), a role that she took over in July 2005 as part of the record-breaking company. She had the honor of playing the role of Christine during the record-tying performance (when Phantom tied Cats’s record) on Saturday evening, 7th January. She is the eleventh actress to be cast as Christine in the Broadway production.
Ms. Pitcher succeeds Sandra Joseph, who has the distinction of having played the role of Christine on Broadway more than any other actress (nearly 1,300 performances). She will play her final performance Saturday evening, 15th April.
Phantom favorite Michael Shawn Lewis will return to the role of the romantic lead Raoul beginning Monday evening, 3rd April. He’s performed the role with five different companies: on Broadway (where he made his Broadway debut in 2001, becoming the tenth actor to be cast in the role), with the US national tour, in Belgium and with two productions in Germany. He most recently appeared on Broadway as an original cast member of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Woman in White (covering the lead role of Walter Hartwright). Internationally, he’s appeared as Marius in Les Misérables and as Franz Joseph in Elisabeth.
Tim Martin Gleason, who is leaving the Broadway production to originate the role of Raoul in the upcoming Vegas production, will play his final New York performance on Saturday evening, 1st April.
Up-and-coming Broadway performer Jennifer Hope Wills will make her Phanotm debut when she joins the cast as the Christine Alternate with her first performance Thursday evening, 20th April. Ms. Wills earned rave reviews playing Eileen opposite Brooke Shields in the Broadway revival of Wonderful Town and can be heard on the new Broadway cast recording with Ms. Shields. She most recently appeared in the original Broadway cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Woman in White (covering the role of Laura) and was also featured in Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast (covering the role of Belle) and the Encores! production of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
Ms. Wills succeeds Ms. Pitcher as the Alternate.
Roland Rusinek will take over the role of Piangi, the vainglorious opera tenor, this Friday evening, 31st March. Mr. Rusinek will be making his Broadway debut, but he’s no stranger to Phantom, having played the role of Piangi for a year in the Toronto production. His other credits include the national tour of Kiss Me, Kate; Kismet at Encores!; Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden; Beauty and the Beast in Montreal; and three productions at New York City Opera: Sweeney Todd (Beadle), The Most Happy Fella (Giuseppe) and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Royal Chef).
He replaces Larry Wayne Morbitt, who has the distinction of having played the role of Piangi on Broadway more than any other actor, at over 2,300 performances. Mr. Morbitt already played his final performance Wednesday evening, 29th March and will originate the role of Piangi in the Vegas production.
Continuing in their roles are Howard McGillin (the Phantom), George Lee Andrews (Monsieur Firmin), David Cryer (Monsieur André), Anne Runolfsson (Carlotta), Marilyn Caskey (Madame Giry) and Heather McFadden (Meg Giry).
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