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July 24, 2014

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Broadway welcomes its first black ‘Phantom’ lead

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Bruce Glikas / The Publicity Office / AP

Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess on the pair’s opening night with the Broadway production of “The Phantom of the Opera” at the Majestic Theater in New York on Monday, May 12, 2014. Lewis is the first black actor to take on the title role.

NEW YORK — A thunderous standing ovation congratulated Norm Lewis as he became the first black actor to take on the title role in Broadway's "The Phantom of the Opera."

The Tony Award nominee, who brought his deep and rich voice as Porgy to the recent "Porgy and Bess" revival, made his "Phantom" debut Monday night opposite a returning Sierra Boggess as Christine.

Lewis played John in "Miss Saigon" on Broadway, Javert on Broadway in "Les Miserables" in 2006 and was in the shows "Side Show," ''The Little Mermaid," ''Chicago" and "Sondheim on Sondheim."

Lewis is the first black Phantom on Broadway, although Robert Guillaume played the role in the Los Angeles production in 1990. Lewis' debut in the musical makes him Broadway's 13th Phantom.

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