James Barbour Will Be Broadway's Next Phantom of the Opera; Musical To Celebrate 27 Years

News   James Barbour Will Be Broadway's Next Phantom of the Opera; Musical To Celebrate 27 Years
 
Producers Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group announced Jan. 12 that James Barbour, a Drama Desk nominee for A Tale of Two Cities, will assume the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera beginning Feb. 9.

James Barbour
James Barbour

Directed by Harold Prince, The Phantom of the Opera is the longest-running show in Broadway history. Barbour will succeed the production's current star, Tony Award nominee Norm Lewis, who will play his final performance Feb. 7.

Having last year surpassed 11,000 performances, the New York production of Phantom is approaching its 27th anniversary. It will celebrate the milestone Jan. 26 at The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street), the musical's home for all 27 years.

Barbour has starred on Broadway in Carousel, Beauty & the Beast, Jane Eyre (Drama League nomination), Urinetown, Assassins and A Tale of Two Cities, for which he received Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Award nominations for Best Actor in a Musical. He made his Broadway debut in 1993 in Cyrano – The Musical and also appeared in the national tour of The Secret Garden.

Barbour is married to Phantom alumna Dana Stackpole, who has appeared as a member of the Ballet Chorus in both the Broadway and national touring companies.

Barbour will become the 15th actor to officially take over the role in the Broadway production. He follows (in order) original star Michael Crawford, Timothy Nolen, Cris Groenendaal, Steve Barton, Kevin Gray, Mark Jacoby, Marcus Lovett, Davis Gaines, Thomas James O'Leary, Hugh Panaro, Howard McGillin, John Cudia, Peter Jöback and Lewis. In addition, there been five limited-engagement replacements: Jeff Keller, Ted Keegan, Brad Little, Gary Mauer and Laird Mackintosh. Based on the classic novel "Le Fantôme de L'Opéra" by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera, according to press notes, "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 production currently stars Lewis in the title role with Julia Udine as Christine and Jeremy Hays as Raoul. The musical co-stars Laird Mackintosh (Monsieur André), Tim Jerome (Monsieur Firmin), Michele McConnell (Carlotta), Linda Balgord (Madame Giry), Christian Šebek (Piangi) and Kara Klein (Meg Giry). At certain performances, Kaley Ann Voorhees plays Christine.

Visit PhantomBroadway.com.

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