Tag: “The Phantom of the Opera”

Norm Lewis Becomes First Black “Phantom of the Opera” Lead on Broadway

Norm LewisTony Award nominee Norm Lewis will join Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera as the show’s first Black lead after 26 years.

On Thursday, producers of the long-running show announced that the stage vet and Scandal actor would make his debut alongside Sierra Boggess on May 12. They noted that he will be the first African-American to play the role.

“I love the show but also to have hopefully set a precedent to see more diversity in casting,” Lewis told The Associated Press.

The thespian’s Broadway credits include Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, Chicago, Side Show, Sondheim on Sondheim, and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (in which he received a Tony nomination), among others.

To date, Phantom has played to more than 130 million people in 27 countries and grossed more than $5.6 billion worldwide.

article by Camille Travis via uptownmagazine.com

Local Hero: Thelma Pollard, ‘Phantom’ Production Makeup Supervisor Since 1988

Local Hero: Thelma Pollard, ‘Phantom’ Production Makeup Supervisor

At every performance of musical “The Phantom of the Opera,” on Broadway and around the country, the tortured title character rips off his mask to reveal his disfigured face. That deformed mug is the handiwork of production makeup supervisor Thelma Pollard, who’s been with the New York incarnation since it began in 1988. It’s her job to teach every new “Phantom” cast member how to apply character makeup correctly and then ensure they keep doing it right. But it’s the Phantom himself that’s her baby: Before each performance, she carefully paints the prosthetics pieces (made of one-use latex) and applies the actor’s makeup herself, a process that takes about an hour.

Besides fidgety thespians — “some actors are better at sitting still than others,” she says diplomatically — hurdles include dropped wigs and a clock-ticking makeup application for an understudy who was rushed into a performance when the lead was sidelined by laryngitis mid-show. And then there was the time she had to figure out the Phantom’s skin color palette for Robert Guillaume, one of the few black actors to take on the title role.

Pollard was born in what she describes as a small village in Barbados — “I didn’t know about Broadway!” — and eventually followed her parents to New York, going on to earn two licenses in cosmetology, specializing in hair and makeup. A chance meeting with makeup designer Stanley James in the salon where she was an apprentice led to gigs on the original Broadway production of “The Wiz” and a string of legit credits that include “Dreamgirls,” “Cats,” “Song and Dance,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.”

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