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 phenomenon is in its unprecedented 25th year in New York, playing at The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street).
Current leading man Hugh Panaro has been confirmed as the creative team's choice to play the "Man Behind the Mask" during the upcoming celebrations for the production's 25th Anniversary in January 2013. Mr. Panaro has a long association with THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and is one of the few actors to have been cast in both of the musical's male leading roles, The Phantom and Raoul. He was first cast in December 1990 as Raoul, a role he would play for over two years and more than 900 performances. In February 1999 he was invited to take over the title role, becoming the tenth of twelve men to be cast as The Phantom on Broadway, and earning rave reviews.
To date, Mr. Panaro has played The Phantom with the New York Company over 1,800 times in 3 different engagements, including his most recent return that began in September 2010. All combined, he's performed (as both The Phantom and Raoul) in over 2,800 performances of the Broadway production.
Producers are also pleased to announce that fans will have additional chances to see international THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA star Marni Raab this winter before she concludes her most recent engagement with the Broadway production this coming January 2013. Ms. Raab has played the leading role of Christine Daaé across the country and around the world and is currently the New York Company's Christine Alternate. She will resume performances as the Principal Christine on Tuesday, November 13. (The Principal Christine plays six performances a week with the Christine Alternate playing two.)
Ms. Raab also has a long, unique history with the show, including numerous engagements with the U.S. Tour between September 2001 and 2008 and originating the role of Christine for the Asian World Tour between December 2004 and August 2006. She became the thirteenth actress to be cast as Christine in the Broadway production in August 2008. In June 2009 she assumed the role of the Christine Alternate, which she's played to date. On Broadway, she has played the role of Christine over 650 times, making her the fifth longest-running Christine in the production's history.
Ms. Raab succeeds Trista Moldovan, who will play her final performance as Christine on Saturday evening, November 10. Ms. Moldovan's history with THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA began in June 2008 when she joined the National Tour as a member of the Ensemble and covering the role of Christine. She quickly assumed the role of Christine, earning a Denver Ovation nomination as Best Actress. She continued to perform the role for over two years, most notably having the distinction of playing it as part of the closing company in Los Angeles in October 2010, marking the end of the most successful touring show in U.S. history. She joined the Broadway production as Christine in December 2011.
Four other principal cast changes are being announced, all beginning Monday evening, November 12.
Tony Award nominee Tim Jerome (Me and My Girl) will return to the production as gruff opera house manager Monsieur Firmin, a role he previously played when he was selected by the Creative Team to be part of the cast when THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA broke the record to become the longest-running show in Broadway history in January 2006. He played the role from October 2005 through January 2006. His other many stage credits include the Broadway productions of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan, Grand Hotel, The Magic Show, Cats, Lost in Yonkers, The Rothschilds, Man of La Mancha, The Lyons, La Boheme and Creation of the World; as well as dozens of major roles Off-Broadway and regionally including the original companies of A 1940's Radio Hour, Tintypes, Romance in Hard Times, Tomfoolery and Plenty. His many films include Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives, Celebrity, Deconstructing Harry and Everyone Says I Love You.