By Ester Foloranmi
For one night only, Rider will be haunted by a Phantom, as Norm Lewis, star of Broadway’s longest-running show, The Phantom of the Opera, comes to haunt the stage of the Yvonne Theater on Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. for the Student Entertainment Council’s “A Night with a Broadway Legend.”
Lewis will be speaking of his career and experiences as the first African-American actor to play the lead in this iconic show. Lewis will also be performing some select songs.
The Tony Award-nominated actor made his Broadway debut in 1993 in The Who’s Tommy. His other credits include shows such as Les Misérables and Chicago, Porgy and Bess and The Little Mermaid. His work extends beyond theater, as he released his first solo album, This is Life!, in 2008, and joined the cast of ABC’s hit show, Scandal in 2012.
“[Lewis] has had a wealth of experiences on stage and on screen that truly makes him a legend of the arts community,” said Nick Barbati, assistant director of Campus Life.
During his visit, Lewis will be sharing his expansive knowledge of show business and he will also provide insight on how to be successful on any path.
His talk will benefit more than just those interested in performance arts and his visit has sparked excitement for Rider students of all majors.
“The Phantom of the Opera has always been my favorite Broadway show, so seeing anyone from the show would be awesome, but the fact that it’s Norm, the first black Phantom, makes it even more exciting,” said secondary education and history major Karynne MacLean. “He’s a legend and his voice is pretty seductive, too.”
Rider is already having a big year with its sesquicentennial, and having Lewis speak is part of the festivities.
“In recognition of Rider’s 150th anniversary we wanted to focus on people making history today, and Mr. Lewis has made history this past year. We wanted to celebrate that,” said Barbati.
Additional reporting by Tara DeLorenzo.
Printed in the 10/15/14 edition.