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Briefs

1st black actor takes Broadway stage as Phantom

A thunderous standing ovation congratulated Norm Lewis as he became the first black actor to take on the title role in Broadway’s “The Phantom of the Opera.”

The Tony Award nominee, who brought his deep and rich voice as Porgy to the recent “Porgy and Bess” revival, made his “Phantom” debut Monday night opposite a returning Sierra Boggess as Christine.

Lewis played John in “Miss Saigon” on Broadway, Javert on Broadway in “Les Misérables” in 2006 and was in the shows “Side Show,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Chicago” and “Sondheim on Sondheim.”

Lewis is the first black Phantom on Broadway, though Robert Guillaume played the role in the Los Angeles production in 1990. Lewis’ debut in the musical makes him Broadway’s 13th Phantom.

Chenoweth headed back to Broadway

“Glee” and “Wicked” star Kristin Chenoweth is chugging back to Broadway in the stylish screwball musical “On the Twentieth Century.”

Producers said Tuesday that the Tony- and Emmy-winner will co-star with Peter Gallagher in the show adapted from the 1934 film with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Cy Coleman. Scott Ellis will direct and Warren Carlyle will choreograph.

The show is about a shameless – and penniless – producer who hightails it out of Chicago after his stage version of “Joan of Arc” flops. He needs a hit and hopes one of his leading ladies who went on to fame in Hollywood can help. They meet aboard the Twentieth Century Limited train as it travels to New York City.

The show will begin Feb. 12 and will open March 12 at the American Airlines Theatre.

The previously announced production in that theater of “Noises Off” has been postponed to fall 2015.

Chenoweth was last on Broadway in the 2010 revival of “Promises, Promises.”

‘Idol’ winner to sing at Capitol

This year’s winner of “American Idol” and country singer Jennifer Nettles will join the lineup of performers at the National Memorial Day Concert on the Capitol lawn in Washington.

Organizers announced Tuesday that Nettles will perform a musical tribute for returning veterans from Afghanistan, who will join her on stage at the Memorial Day concert May 25. This year’s festivities, televised on PBS, will welcome home veterans and honor those who were killed or wounded.

The concert will be one of the first performances for the new winner of “American Idol,” who will be named May 21.

The lineup also includes 2013 winner of “The Voice” Danielle Bradbery, Colin Powell, actors Gerald McRaney, Gary Sinise and Joe Montegna, Broadway star Megan Hilty and singers Jackie Evancho and Anthony Kearns.

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