Phantom Will Welcome New "Piangi" and "Monsieurs"; George Lee Andrews Exits After 23 Years

News   Phantom Will Welcome New "Piangi" and "Monsieurs"; George Lee Andrews Exits After 23 Years
Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera will get a new Piangi, the resident tenor at the opera house, and fresh opera managers André and Firmin over Labor Day weekend, the producers announced Aug. 30.

George Lee Andrews
George Lee Andrews Photo by Joan Marcus

George Lee Andrews, an original cast member who is recognized by Guinness World Record as the longest-running actor in the same Broadway show, leaves the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber Sept. 3. Over the past 23 years (with a few breaks for vacations and appearances in limited engagements elsewhere), Andrews has appeared in the ensemble (where he started in 1988) and later played both Firmin and André (he's currently playing the latter).

Opera leading man Christian Šebek will make his Broadway debut as the vain tenor Piangi beginning Sept. 2, replacing Evan Harrington, who had played the role of Piangi since April 2008. Harington's final performance was Aug. 20. Until Šebek's debut, the role is being played by Phantom Broadway and national tour veteran David Gaschen.

Broadway veterans Aaron Galligan-Stierle and Kevin Ligon will be assuming the roles of Monsieurs André and Firmin, respectively, the managers of the Opera Populaire, beginning Sept. 5.

Galligan-Stierle (who happens to be succeeding his father-in-law, Andrews) created the role of Henry Ford in the Broadway revival of Ragtime, and made his Broadway debut as Papa Who in Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Christian Šebek
photo by Joan Marcus

Ligon (Firmin) joins Phantom direct from the original cast of Broadway's Sister Act. His other Broadway credits include Finian's Rainbow; Young Frankenstein; The Producers (also L.A.); Kiss Me, Kate; 1776; and The Secret Garden. He won a Jefferson Award for Best Actor for his performance in the national tour of Guys & Dolls and he played Pirelli in Sweeney Todd for The Kennedy Center’s Sondheim Celebration. He succeeds David Cryer, who joined the Broadway production in January 2006 after 13 years with the national tour.

Phantom, directed by Harold Prince, is now in its 24th year on Broadway, having played more than 9,800 performances at the Majectic Theatre. The Phantom of the Opera is produced by Cameron Mackintosh/Really Useful Group, Inc.

Both Andrews and Cryer have long histories with director Hal Prince, production notes point out. Andrews appeared in the original Broadway productions of On the Twentieth Century and A Little Night Music (also the national tour and directing the musical for Prince in Johannesburg, South Africa), as well as in 2010's world premiere of the new musical Paradise Found in London. He made his Broadway debut as Frid in Prince's production of A Little Night Music. Cryer starred as Peron in the original Broadway production of Evita for more than 1,000 performances.

Continuing in their roles with the New York Company are Hugh Panaro (The Phantom), Sara Jean Ford (Christine), Kyle Barisich (Raoul), Michele McConnell (Carlotta), Marilyn Caskey (Madame Giry) and Jessica Bishop (Meg Giry). At certain performances, Marni Raab plays Christine. The Phantom of the Opera has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe) and book by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

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Kevin Ligon and Aaron Galligan-Stierle
Kevin Ligon and Aaron Galligan-Stierle Photo by Joan Marcus
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