Phantom announces 3 prinipal cast changes

Principal cast changes have been announced for the longest-running show in Broadway history, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera.



Christian Sebek will make his Broadway debut taking over the role of 'Piangi,' from 2 Sep 2011. Sebek’s Opera and Classical credits range from New York Grand Opera to Carnegie Hall, including such starring roles as 'Rodolfo' in 'La Boheme', 'Pinkerton' in 'Madame Butterfly,' 'Alfredo' in 'La Traviata' and 'Romeo' in 'Romeo and Juliette.'

Sebek succeeds Evan Harrington, who had played the role of 'Piangi' since Apr 2008. Harrington’s final performance was 20 Aug 2011 and until Šebek’s debut, the role is being played by The Phantom of the Opera Broadway and National Tour alum David Gaschen.

Broadway veterans Aaron Galligan-Stierle and Kevin Ligon will be assuming the roles of 'Monsieurs André' and 'Firmin,' the Managers of the Opera Populaire, beginning 5 Sep 2011.

Galligan-Stierle has appeared on Broadway creating the role of 'Henry Ford' in the revival of 'Ragtime' and making his Broadway debut as 'Papa Who' in 'Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.' He also appeared in the National Tour of 'Cinderella' starring 'Lea Salonga' and in the Paper Mill production of 'Curtains.'



Ligon joins the company direct from the original cast of 'Sister Act.' His other Broadway credits include 'Finian’s Rainbow,' 'Young Frankenstein,' 'The Producers' (also L.A.), 'Kiss Me, Kate,' '1776,' and 'The Secret Garden.' He won a Jefferson Award for Best Actor for his performance in the National Tour of 'Guys & Dolls' and he played 'Pirelli' in 'Sweeney Todd' for The Kennedy Center’s Sondheim Celebration.

Galligan-Stierle and Ligon succeed George Lee Andrews and David Cryer, both of whom will play their final performances on 3 Sep 2011. Andrews and Cryer both have very long histories with The Phantom of the Opera. Andrews is an original cast member of the musical and is long recognized by Guinness World Record as the longest-running actor in the same Broadway show. Cryer joined the Broadway production in Jan 2006 after 12 years with the National Tour.

Continuing in their roles with the New York Company are Hugh Panaro (The Phantom), Sara Jean Ford (Christine), Kyle Barisich (Raoul), Michele McConnell (Carlotta), Marilyn Caskey (Madame Giry) and Jessica Bishop (Meg Giry). At certain performances, Marni Raab plays 'Christine.'

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, celebrated its 23rd anniversary on the Great White Way on 26 Jan 2011.

In addition to its longevity records, The Phantom of the Opera is also the most successful stage musical of all time, with worldwide grosses to date estimated in excess of $5 billion. The winner of seven 1988 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, the New York production has played over 9,700 performances, been seen by nearly 14.3 million people and grossed over $812 million.

Worldwide, over 65,000 performances of The Phantom of the Opera have been seen by 100 million people in 27 countries and 144 cities. There are currently five productions around the world: London, New York, Budapest (Hungary), Kyoto (Japan) and a revised production in Las Vegas at The Venetian. The original cast-recording, with over 40 million copies sold worldwide, is the best-selling cast recording of all time.

The Phantom of the Opera opened at the Majestic on 26 Jan 1988, following previews from 9 Jan, 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 show's production design is by the late Maria Björnson, with 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.

Christian Sebek as PiangiKevin Ligon as Monsieur Firmin and Aaron Galligan-Stierle as Monsieurs Andre