Behind the Curtain: Norm Lewis as Phantom

Bernadette Peters, Nathan Lane, Chita Rivera, Doris Roberts, Fran Drescher and Bill Irwin at “Mothers and Sons”…Meredith Vieira, Colm Wilkinson, Audra McDonald and Neil Patrick Harris at “Les Miserables”…Julie Taymor, Sting, Tina Fey and Richard Kind at “Aladdin.”

Norm Lewis to be Broadway’s first African-American Phantom
Norm Lewis (“Porgy and Bess”) is set to become the first African-American actor to play the title role in “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway. He will enter the long-running musical on May 12 along with Sierra Boggess (“The Little Mermaid”), who is returning to the role of Christine. Lewis has previously appeared in other musicals produced by impresario Cameron Mackintosh including “Miss Saigon” and “Les Miserables.”

Groff, Liu to co-announce the Tony Nominations
Jonathan Groff and Lucy Liu will co-host the annual Tony Awards Nominations Announcement, which will be held at the Diamond Horseshoe at the Paramount Hotel on April 29 at 8:30 a.m. The announcement can be viewed live from TonyAwards.com. In similar news, Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams, who appeared together in “The Trip to Bountiful,” will announce the Outer Critics Circle Nominations on April 22 at the Friars Club.

‘From Here to Eternity’ to be screened in U.S.
The new London musical version of “From Here to Eternity,” which is about to close due to disappointing ticket sales, will be filmed and later screened in U.S. movie theaters by Fathom Events and Omniverse. According to the broadcast announcement, the show is expected to play Broadway in 2015.

‘Broadway Backwards’ concert breaks record
The annual “Broadway Backwards” concert, which was held on Monday night at the Hirschfeld Theatre, raised a record-breaking $423,182 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the LGBT Community Center. A major highlight of the event was Patricia Morison, the 99-year-old original star of “Kiss Me, Kate,” performing “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.”

McClure to star in ‘Irma La Douce’ at City Center
Rob McClure, who won raves last season for his performance in the flop musical “Chaplin” and will star in the Broadway-bound “Honeymoon in Vegas,” will appear in the upcoming Encores! production of the rarely-seen 1960 musical “Irma La Douce,” which begins performances at City Center on May 7. John Doyle, best known for his scaled-down revivals of “Sweeney Todd” and “Company,” is directing.

Flop musical series returns to 54 Below
“If It Runs Only Even a Minute,” the hit concert series where songs from long-forgotten musicals are performed alongside trivia and commentary from historian Jennifer Ashley Tepper and actor Kevin Michael Murphy, will return to 54 Below on April 21 with a cast that includes Katie Finneran, Hunter Foster and Beth Leavel. Songs will be performed from such musicals as “Chess,” “The Civil War” and “Gospel at Colonus.”