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Hugh Panaro returns as the man behind the mask  
On Monday, April 14th 2003 Mr Panaro becomes the first Broadway Phantom to return to the role in the New York production...
The Phantom of the Opera Broadway

Beginning Monday evening, April 14th, Hugh Panaro will return to the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, directed by Harold Prince, at The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street). Mr. Panaro originally became Broadway’s 10th “man behind the mask” in 1999 and he now becomes the first performer in the history of the New York production to return to the title role. His long association with the show extends even further back, having made his Phantom debut as Raoul in 1991.

Mr. Panaro succeeds Howard McGillin, who originally succeeded him in 1999. Mr. McGillin leaves the musical as Broadway’s longest-running Phantom, having played the role for over three and a half years and over 1,200 performances. Mr. McGillin is leaving the production to appear in the world premiere of the new Stephen Sondheim musical Bounce, also directed by Harold Prince.

Mr. Panaro made his Broadway debut in Les Misérables as Marius, the role he originated in the first national company. He created the roles of Buddy in Side Show and Julian in Jules Styne’s last musical, The Red Shoes. He made his West End debut in the original London Company of Harold Prince’s Show Boat as Ravenal, the role he played on Broadway and in Toronto. At Avery Fisher Hall, he performed with the Radio City Rockettes in Jerry Herman’s Mack and Mabel and also in The Stephen Sondheim Gala, the culmination of the Kennedy Center’s “Summer of Sondheim,” where Hugh was Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd. In L.A., Hugh was Franklin Shepard in Merrily We Roll Along and received an Ovation nomination for his performance as Kenneth in Call Me Madam, both for Reprise!. As a concert artist, Hugh has performed with symphony orchestras across the US and abroad and can be heard on numerous recordings. Panaro originally left the Broadway production in 1999 after being chosen by producer Cameron Mackintosh to play the title role in the American premiere of Martin Guerre.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, directed by Harold Prince and produced by Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Company, Inc., is the most successful stage musical of all time, with worldwide ticket sales exceeding $3.2 billion (far surpassing the highest-grossing film of all time, Titanic, which has grossed $1.9 billion worldwide). The Broadway production opened at The Majestic Theatre on January 26th, 1988, and won seven 1988 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Now the third longest-running show in Broadway history – behind only Les Misérables (#2) and Cats (#1) – the New York production has been seen by over 9.5 million people. Worldwide, Phantom has been seen by over 100 million people.

Continuing in their roles are Lisa Vroman (Christine), John Cudia (Raoul), Jeff Keller (Monsieur Firmin), George Lee Andrews (Monsieur André), Rebecca Eichenberger (Carlotta), Marilyn Caskey (Madame Giry), Larry Wayne Morbitt (Piangi), Joelle Gates (Meg Giry) and Adrienne McEwan (Christine at certain performances).

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 Wednesday and Saturdays at 2pm. Ticket prices range from $20-$100. To order tickets by phone call Tele-charge at 212-239-6200.

Posted on: 8th April 2003

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