Norm Lewis

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Norm Lewis
Norm Lewis.jpg
Lewis performs "Stars", September 10, 2006
Born (1963-06-02) June 2, 1963 (age 54)
Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Actor, vocalist
Years active 1993–present[1]

Norm Lewis (born June 2, 1963) is an American actor and baritone singer. He has appeared in Europe, on Broadway, in film, television, recordings and regional theatre.[2] Productions that he has been involved in include Dessa Rose, Miss Saigon, The 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 of the Opera.[3]

Personal life[edit]

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 in Michael 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, making him the first African American actor to play the role in a professional English production. 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 Muny, St. Louis production from July 15–21, 2013.[12][13]

In 2007 he originated the role of King Triton in the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid.[14] 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.[15]

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 by James Lapine, also featured Barbara Cook and Vanessa L. Williams.[16] His rendition of "Being Alive" was one of the evening's outstanding highlights.[17][18]

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 Parks and Diedre Murray as a musical for contemporary audiences."[19] He was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical[20] and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical for his performance.[21]

Lewis released his first solo album, This Is the Life! in 2008 under the Seahorse Productions label.[22] His other notable recordings include the cast recordings of Side Show, The Who's Tommy, 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.[23][24]

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.[25][26]

He is an investor in the company Lolly Clothing, which was started by his good friend and fellow Broadway actor Chad Kimball.[27][28]

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 Peters, Jeremy Jordan, and Cyrille Aimée.[29][30] 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.[31] 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.[32]

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]

Theatre credits[edit];[33] PlayBillVault[34]



Lewis has performed at numerous venues, including Lincoln Center (where his concert was filmed for the TV special Norm Lewis: Who Am I?), Joe's Pub, Apollo Theater, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Film credits[edit]

Television credits[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
2005 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Dessa Rose Nominated
2012 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Porgy and Bess Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Nominated
2013 Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Norm Lewis website:Bio Retrieved 6th November 2009
  2. ^ "Music" Norm Lewis website, Retrieved 6 November 2009
  3. ^ a b c Hetrick, Adam and Daniels, Karu F. "Norm Lewis Ends History-Making Engagement in Broadway's 'Phantom of the Opera' ", February 7, 2015
  4. ^ "1981 Edgewater High School Yearbook". Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Pal, Matthew J."Norm Lewis Interview" Orlando Sentinel, August 27, 2010
  6. ^ "Playbill, 'Once On This Island'", accessed June 30, 2011
  7. ^ "Norm Lewis"
  8. ^ Gans, Andrew et al."Encores! 'Golden Boy' Begin to Shine March 21", March 21, 2002
  9. ^ a b "Norm Lewis Broadway credits" Internet Broadway Database, accessed June 30, 2011
  10. ^ Brantley, Ben. "Shakespeare in the Park Review; Enter 'Two Gentlemen' For a Sexy Sip of Sangría", The New York Times, August 29, 2005
  11. ^ Simonson, Robert."La Chanze and Rachel York Bloom in Antebellum 'Dessa Rose', Opening March 21", March 21, 2005
  12. ^ "Cast of St. Louis Muny 'Les Miserables'" Archived June 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "BWW Exclusive: 'Les Miserables' at The MUNY Summer 2013 Scrapbook!", July 31, 2013
  14. ^ Gans, Andrew."Mermaid Will Resume Nov. 29 and Will Officially Flip Her Fins Jan. 10" November 29, 2007
  15. ^ Hetrick, Adam.Lewis Will Attend the Tale of 'Sweeney Todd' at Casa Mañana, October 23, 2009
  16. ^ Jones, Kenneth."'Sondheim on Sondheim', a New Musical Reflection of a Life in Art, Begins on Broadway", March 19, 2010
  17. ^ Suskin, Steven (2010-04-23). "Review: ‘Sondheim on Sondheim’". Variety. Retrieved 2017-05-20. 
  18. ^ "Sondheim on Sondheim". 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2017-05-20. 
  19. ^ Gans, Andrew and Hetrick, Adam."Norm Lewis-Audra McDonald Porgy and Bess Will Play Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre", June 29, 2011
  20. ^ Jones, Kenneth and Hetrick, Adam. 2012 "Tony Awards Nominations Announced; Once Earns 11 Nominations"., May 1, 2012
  21. ^ Gans, Andrew."'Once', 'Tribes', 'Follies', 'Salesman', Audra McDonald, Danny Burstein and More Are Drama Desk Winners", June 3, 2012
  22. ^ Listing,, retrieved June 27, 2010.
  23. ^ Gioia, Michael. "'Porgy and Bess' Tony Nominee Norm Lewis Lands Role on ABC's 'Scandal' " . Playbill. August 17, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2013
  24. ^ 'Scandal' Season 2 Casting: A 'Grey's Anatomy' Alum And A Broadway Star -- Plus A 'West Wing' Reunion? Maggie Furlong. Huffington Post. August 16, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  25. ^ "'The Tempest' Featuring Laura Benanti Norm Lewis and Todd Almond Sweeps Into Central Park" {dead link}
  26. ^ "PublicWorks 'The Tempest'", accessed March 4, 2016
  27. ^ "Norm Lewis"
  28. ^ [1]
  29. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Norm Lewis and Jeremy Jordan Will Join Bernadette Peters in Stephen Sondheim and Wynton Marsalis' A Bed and a Chair'", October 11, 2013
  30. ^ Fullerton, Krissie. "Bernadette Peters, Norm Lewis and Jeremy Jordan Debut Stephen Sondheim and Wynton Marsalis' 'A Bed and a Chair'", November 14, 2013
  31. ^
  32. ^ Newsdesk. "Andre De Shields to Receive Audelco Special Achievement Award at 42nd Annual Gala, 11/17"., November 13, 2014
  33. ^ "Norm Lewis Off-Broadway", accessed March 4, 2016
  34. ^ "Norm Lewis Broadway" Playbill, accessed March 4, 2016
  35. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Norm Lewis Will Wield the Razor in Signature’s 'Sweeney Todd' Sept. 7-Oct. 31" Playbill, July 27, 1999, accessed March 4, 2016
  36. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Murney, Blickenstaff, Lewis and More Will Sing Kander & Ebb in Arlington" Playbill, July 24, 2009, accessed March 4, 2016

External links[edit]