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Norm Lewis ends historic run as 1st Black ‘Phantom’

Norm Lewis made history as first African American Phantom on Broadway (Photo courtesy of Matthew Murphy/The Publicity Office)

Actor Norm Lewis of “Scandal” fame ended his historic run as the first ever African American to star in the role of Phantom on Broadway in the production of “Phantom of the Opera.” Lewis began his run in Broadway’s longest running production on May 12, 2014, and ended it on Feb. 7, 2015.

The Tony Award nominee is the 14th actor to star in the title role in the Broadway production. In 1990, Tony Award nominee Robert Guillaume was the first African American ever to play the role in the Los Angeles production.

Lewis had the following to say when he was first cast in the role.

“There are so many brothers out here who can just sing circles around this show and do a phenomenal job,” he said. “I was the lucky one that got picked, so I need to do my best and bring my A-game, and then hopefully that will open the door for other people.”

The humble Lewis certainly did bring his A-game. He has the acting ability that landed him a role on the hit television show “Scandal,” but his baritone voice is incredible on stage, as he seems to hit every note flawlessly, from tone to pitch, from his pianississimos to his fortississimos.

Lewis released the following statement on social media yesterday before his last performance.

“What an amazing journey this has been! To have a dream fulfilled. To work with an AMAZING Cast and Crew! And to receive all the love and support from people across the US and many other countries,” he said. “I am honored! I am especially humbled as we celebrate African-American achievements this month, knowing that I was honored to become the first African-American in this role on Broadway. I thank you all again for your support, love and kindness. God bless!!”

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