Thursday, 25 June 2015


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Norm Lewis

Norm Lewis
Norm Lewis.jpg
Lewis performs "Stars", September 10, 2006
BornJune 2, 1963 (age 52)
Tallahassee, Florida
United States
Years active1993–present[1]
Norm Lewis (born June 2, 1963) is a Tony Award nominated American actor and baritone singer. He has appeared in Europe, onBroadway, in film, television, recordings and regional theatre.[2] Productions that he has been involved in include Dessa RoseMiss SaigonThe Wild Party, and several others.[3]
Lewis has been credited as having "an impressive Broadway resumé" by Playbill. He is perhaps best known for his roles in the popular musical productions of Porgy and Bess and The Phantom of the Opera, making musical theatre history as the first African-American actor to perform in the title role in Broadway's long-running production of Phantom.[3]

Personal life

Lewis was born in Tallahassee, Florida and grew up in Eatonville, Florida. He graduated in 1981 from Edgewater High School, Orlando.[4] He worked at the Orlando Sentinel prior to his acting career.[5]


Lewis credits the kickoff of his career to Ralph Petillo, who ran the Theater on Park in Orlando, Florida.
Lewis was featured as Agwe in the Gateway Playhouse (Bellport, New York) production of Once on This Island in 1992.[6]
Lewis made his Broadway debut in The Who's Tommy (1993).[7] He was a replacement in Miss Saigon as John. In 1997 he played Jake in Side Show. He also appeared inMichael John LaChiusa's Broadway musical, The Wild Party, as Eddie. Lewis was in Michel Legrand's short-lived musical Amour in 2002, which also featured Melissa Errico,Malcolm Gets, and Lewis Cleale. He played the racketeer Eddie Satin in the New York City Center Encores! staged concert of Golden Boy in March 2002.[8] He played Billy Flynn in the Broadway revival of Chicago in February 2004 and March 2004.[9] He performed in several benefit concerts, including Dreamgirls (2001), Chess (2003), and Hair.[9]
In 2005, Lewis starred in the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park revival of a musical version of Two Gentlemen of Verona.[10] He played the role of Nathan in the Lincoln Center 2005 production of Dessa Rose.[11]
Lewis has played Javert in the musical Les Misérables several times. He first starred in the role in the 2006 Broadway revival. He later reprised it in the West End production. At London's O2 Arena, he sang the role in the 25th anniversary concert of the show. Lewis again reprised the role in the St. Louis Muny production from July 15–21, 2013.[12]
In 2007 he originated the role of King Triton in the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid.[13] He went on to sing as King Triton on the original Broadway cast recording.
In regional theatre, he played the title role in Sweeney Todd, the musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, at the Casa Mañana Theatre, Fort Worth, Texas, beginning November 10, 2009. He had previously played this role at the Signature Theatre in 1999.[14]
Lewis was featured in the musical revue Sondheim on Sondheim, which premiered in the Roundabout Theatre's Studio 54 in 2010. The production, conceived and directed byJames Lapine, also featured Barbara Cook and Vanessa L. Williams.[15] His rendition of "Being Alive" was one of the evening's outstanding highlights.[citation needed]
Lewis appears in a revised version of Porgy and Bess, as Porgy, first at the Loeb Drama Center (Cambridge, Massachusetts) in August through September 2011 and then on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre starting in previews on December 12, 2011. This American Repertory Theater production is being "re-imagined by Suzan-Lori Parksand Diedre Murray as a musical for contemporary audiences."[16] He was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical[17] and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical for his performance.[18]
Lewis released his first solo album, This Is The Life! in 2008 under the Seahorse Productions label.[19] His other notable recordings include the cast recording of Side Show and the 1998 cast recording of A New Brain as Roger Delli-Bovi, for Scott Alan's Keys and for the 2001 New York cast recording of Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens in aid of the Momentum Aids Project.
In 2012, Lewis joined the cast of the ABC political thriller television series Scandal, in the role of Senator Edison Davis.[20][21]
In 2013, Lewis starred as Prospero in the Public Theater's PublicWorks Shakespeare in the Park production of The Tempest at the Delacorte Theater. He was one of five professional actors heading a cast of 200 community participants.[22]
He is an investor in the company Lolly Clothing, which was started by his good friend and fellow Broadway actor Chad Kimball.[23][24]
He appeared in the Stephen Sondheim-Wynton Marsalis staged concert for Encores! titled A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair, at New York City Center, from November 13 to November 17, 2013. The concert was directed by John Doyle and also featured Bernadette PetersJeremy Jordan, and Cyrille Aimée.[25][26] On May 12, 2014, Lewis assumed the role of the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera in NY, making him the first African American to play the title role in the New York production and the third worldwide.[27] He succeeded Hugh Panaro and joined fellow returning cast member Sierra Boggess, who returned as Christine on the same date.
Lewis is a recipient of the 2014 AUDELCO Special Achievement Award.[28][29]
On February 7, 2015, Lewis ended his tenure as the Phantom with a performance at the Majestic Theatre. Coverage in Playbill credited him for his "impressive Broadway resumé". Being succeeded by actor James Barbour, Lewis remarked that he had been a fan of the musical for many years and felt that obtaining the part finally had been akin to winning the lottery.[3]

Awards and nominations

YearAwardCategoryNominated WorkResult
2005Drama Desk AwardOutstanding Featured Actor in a MusicalDessa RoseNominated
2012Tony AwardBest Performance by a Leading Actor in a MusicalPorgy and BessNominated
Drama Desk AwardOutstanding Actor in a MusicalNominated
Drama League AwardDistinguished PerformanceNominated
Outer Critics Circle AwardOutstanding Actor in a MusicalNominated