James Barbour to succeed Norm Lewis as The Phantom

Producers of Broadway's longest-running show The Phantom of the Opera have announced that James Barbour will succeed Tony nominee and Broadway's first ever African-American Phantom Norm Lewis in the title role from 9 February 2015. Mr Lewis will play his final performance on 7 February 2015 at the Majestic Theatre.

James Barbour last appeared on the Great White Way in 'A Tale of Two Cities,' in 2008. Other Broadway credits include 'Assassins,' 'Urinetown,' 'Jane Eyre,' Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'Carousel,' and 'Cyrano - The Musical'.

The most successful stage musical of all time, the Cameron Mackintosh/Really Useful Group, Inc. production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, directed by Harold Prince, will celebrate its 27th anniversary on 26 January 2015.

The Phantom of the Opera opened at the Majestic on 26 January 1988, following previews from 9 January, and went on to sweep the 1988 Tony Awards, winning seven, including Best Musical.

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 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 musical has production design by the late Maria Björnson, lighting by Andrew Bridge and sound by Martin Levan. Musical staging and choreography is by Gillian Lynne. Orchestrations are by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

- by Tom Millward

James Barbour