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 55)
NationalityAmerican
OccupationActor, singer
Years active1993–present[1]
Websitewww.normlewis.com

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]

Early 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]

Career[edit]

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 appeared 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 was "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 created 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 New York, 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. 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]

Lewis is a recipient of the 2014 AUDELCO Special Achievement Award.[32]

He began playing Agwe in Once on this Island on January 8, 2018, at the Circle in the Square theatre and continues to perform the role.[33]

Lewis portrayed Caiaphas in the live televised concert production of Jesus Christ Superstar on April 1, 2018, Easter Sunday.

Theatre credits[edit]

Year Title Role Theater
1992 Once on This Island Agwe Gateway Playhouse
1993–95 The Who's Tommy Specialist St. James Theatre
1995–96 Miss Saigon John Broadway Theatre
1997 Side Show Jake Richard Rodgers Theatre
1998 A New Brain Roger Delli-Bovi Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center
1999 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Sweeney Todd[34] Signature Theatre
2000 The Wild Party Eddie Virginia Theatre
2001 Dreamgirls Chris Taylor Jr. New York Actors Fund concert
2002 Amour Various Music Box Theatre
2002 Golden Boy Eddie Satin Encores!
2003 Chess Alexander New York Actors Fund concert
2004 Chicago Billy Flynn Ambassador Theatre
2004 Hair Tribe New York Actors Fund concert
2005 Two Gentlemen of Verona Valentine Delacorte Theatre
2005 Dessa Rose Nathan Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre
2006–07 Les Misérables Javert Broadhurst Theatre
2007-09 The Little Mermaid King Triton Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
2009 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Sweeney Todd Casa Manana Theatre
2009 First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb[35] Performer Signature Theatre
2010 Sondheim on Sondheim Performer Roundabout Theatre
2010-11 Les Misérables Javert Queen's Theatre
2010 Les Misérables Javert The O2 Arena
2011 Porgy and Bess Porgy Loeb Drama Center
2012 Porgy and Bess Porgy Richard Rodgers Theatre
2012 First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb Performer Kennedy Center
2013 The Tempest Prospero The Public Theatre
2013 A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair Performer Encores!
2013 Les Misérables Javert The Muny
2014-15 The Phantom of the Opera Phantom Majestic Theatre [36]
2015 Show Boat Joe Lincoln Center
2017 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Sweeney Todd Barrow Street Theatre
2018 Once on This Island Agwe Circle in the Square Theatre

Sources: Lortel.org;[37] PlayBillVault[38]

Discography[edit]

Concerts[edit]

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]

Year Title Role
1986 Stand by Me Swing gang
2001 Confidences (short) Reggie
2005 Preaching to the Choir Reverend Tucker
2010 Sex and the City 2 Reginald
2010 Les Misérables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary Javert
2011 Pizza Verdi (short) Reggie
2014 Winter's Tale Custodian
2016 Magnum Opus Charlie Lutwidge
2018 Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert Caiaphas

Television credits[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1998 All My Children Keith McLean 9 episodes
2001 Strong Medicine Mr. Phillips 1 episode
2007 Mystery Woman: In the Shadows Doctor TV movie
2012-15 Scandal Senator Edison Davis 12 episodes
2014 Hustling Senator Bailey 2 episodes
2014 Blue Bloods DA James Campbell 1 episode
2014 The Blacklist J.P. Laskin 1 episode
2015 Gotham Deputy Mayor Harrison Kane 1 episode
2015 Kern & Hammerstein's Show Boat Joe filmed stage production
2015 First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb Performer TV movie
2016 Chicago Med Bobby 1 episode
2017 Daytime Divas William Tomas

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]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Norm Lewis website:Bio Archived 2010-06-11 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 6th November 2009
  2. ^ "Music" Archived 2011-07-14 at the Wayback Machine. 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' " playbill.com, February 7, 2015
  4. ^ "1981 Edgewater High School Yearbook". classmates.com. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  5. ^ Pal, Matthew J."Norm Lewis Interview" Orlando Sentinel, August 27, 2010
  6. ^ "Playbill, 'Once On This Island'" gatewayplayhouse.com, accessed June 30, 2011
  7. ^ "Norm Lewis" broadway.com
  8. ^ Gans, Andrew et al."Encores! 'Golden Boy' Begin to Shine March 21" playbill.com, 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" Archived 2012-10-12 at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com, March 21, 2005
  12. ^ "Cast of St. Louis Muny 'Les Miserables'" playbill.com Archived June 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "BWW Exclusive: 'Les Miserables' at The MUNY Summer 2013 Scrapbook!" broadwayworld.com, 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 playbill.com, October 23, 2009
  16. ^ Jones, Kenneth."'Sondheim on Sondheim', a New Musical Reflection of a Life in Art, Begins on Broadway" Archived 2014-03-01 at the Wayback Machine..playbill.com, March 19, 2010
  17. ^ Suskin, Steven (2010-04-23). "Review: 'Sondheim on Sondheim'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
  18. ^ "Sondheim on Sondheim". EW.com. 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" playbill.com, June 29, 2011
  20. ^ Jones, Kenneth and Hetrick, Adam. 2012 "Tony Awards Nominations Announced; Once Earns 11 Nominations" Archived 2012-05-07 at the Wayback Machine.. Playbill.com, May 1, 2012
  21. ^ Gans, Andrew."'Once', 'Tribes', 'Follies', 'Salesman', Audra McDonald, Danny Burstein and More Are Drama Desk Winners" Archived 2012-06-06 at the Wayback Machine. Playbill.com, June 3, 2012
  22. ^ Listing Archived 2011-07-14 at the Wayback Machine., normlewis.com, 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. ^ Furlong, Maggie. "'Scandal' Season 2 Casting: A 'Grey's Anatomy' Alum And A Broadway Star -- Plus A 'West Wing' Reunion?" Huffington Post. August 16, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  25. ^ "'The Tempest' Featuring Laura Benanti Norm Lewis and Todd Almond Sweeps Into Central Park" playbill.com {dead link}
  26. ^ "PublicWorks 'The Tempest'" publictheater.org, accessed March 4, 2016
  27. ^ "Norm Lewis" broadway.com
  28. ^ [1] youtube.com
  29. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Norm Lewis and Jeremy Jordan Will Join Bernadette Peters in Stephen Sondheim and Wynton Marsalis' A Bed and a Chair'" playbill.com, October 11, 2013
  30. ^ Fullerton, Krissie. "Bernadette Peters, Norm Lewis and Jeremy Jordan Debut Stephen Sondheim and Wynton Marsalis' 'A Bed and a Chair'" Archived 2014-03-02 at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com, November 14, 2013
  31. ^ [2] tumblr.com
  32. ^ Newsdesk. "Andre De Shields to Receive Audelco Special Achievement Award at 42nd Annual Gala, 11/17". Broadwayworld.com, November 13, 2014
  33. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Norm Lewis and Tamyra Gray Joining Broadway’s 'Once on This Island' " Playbill, December 19, 2017
  34. ^ 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
  35. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Murney, Blickenstaff, Lewis and More Will Sing Kander & Ebb in Arlington" Playbill, July 24, 2009, accessed March 4, 2016
  36. ^ Hetrick, Adam; Daniels, Karu F. (May 12, 2014). "Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess Join Broadway Cast of The Phantom of the Opera May 12". Playbill. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  37. ^ "Norm Lewis Off-Broadway" lortel.org, accessed March 4, 2016
  38. ^ "Norm Lewis Broadway" Playbill, accessed March 4, 2016

External links[edit]