Broadway's Phantom of the Opera Gets New Raoul on June 6
By Kenneth Jones
Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera welcomes new principal cast members this spring and summer, starting June 6 with Kyle Barisich slipping into the starched tunic of Christine's more functional lover, Raoul, who has a taste for rooftop duets. Michele McConnell and Jessica Bishop are stepping into the roles of Carlotta and Meg, respectively, in the coming weeks.
The longest-running Broadway show, Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, directed by Harold Prince, is now in its 24th year at the Majestic Theatre.
A former principal cast member with the Phantom national tour, Barisich now moves out of the Broadway ensemble and into the principal role of Raoul. He previously played Raoul in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He first joined the tour for a year starting in October 2006 as a member of the ensemble (and covering Raoul). Since March 2008 and to date, he's also played several engagements with the Broadway company in the ensemble and covering Raoul. He succeeds Sean MacLaughlin, who's played the role of Raoul over 800 times in New York and on the road combined.
Current Broadway cast member McConnell will assume the role of Carlotta starting July 11. McConnell first joined the Ensemble of the Broadway cast in February 2010 and has covered the role of the fiery opera diva Carlotta since May 2010. She takes over the role from Liz McCartney, who will play her final performance on July 9. In her two engagements with the Broadway cast, McCartney has played the role over 700 times.
Former Phantom national tour principal cast member Jessica Bishop (formerly Jessi Ehrlich) will step into the role of ballerina Meg Giry, beginning performances July 4. Bishop previously played the role on the national tour from April 2008 to February 2010. She'll be playing the role during a leave of absence for current cast member Heather McFadden, who will play her final performance on July 2. She is scheduled to return to the production in January 2012.
Continuing in their roles with the Broadway company are Hugh Panaro (The Phantom), Sara Jean Ford (Christine), George Lee Andrews (Monsieur André), David Cryer (Monsieur Firmin), Marilyn Caskey (Madame Giry) and Evan Harrington (Piangi). At certain performances, Marni Raab plays Christine.
For more information, visit www.thephantomoftheopera.com or www.phantombroadway.com.
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