Hugh Panaro played the title role in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway more than 2,000 times, and somehow he never got tired of it.
“The thing that’s so great to me about theater is it’s a living, breathing organism. The variable that’s always different is the audience,” Panaro says. “There are nights that you might not be feeling well, you might be sick or physically tired, but there were never nights were I was like, ‘oh gosh, I have to do this again.’ I always was excited to do the show, and I think you have to have a certain amount of gratitude, to realize how lucky you are to have this role.”
The Philly native grew up in East Oak Lane and went to Temple before making his Broadway debut as Marius in Les Miserables. When he later joined the Les Miz cast at the Walnut Street Theatre, earning a Barrymore Award in the process, it was as Jean Valjean. But Panaro is best known for The Phantom of the Opera: He’s been cast as both Raoul and the Phantom, the latter on and off over 15 years. Read more »