Hugh Panaro is perhaps best known for having played the coveted role of the Phantom in Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera over 2,000 times, including the 25th Anniversary production. In fact, Hugh is one of the few actors to be cast by Harold Prince as both The Phantom and Raoul in the show’s Broadway production and is currently starring as the titular role in the immersive Off-Broadway production of Sweeney Todd.
Hugh made his Broadway debut in the original production of Les Misérables as Marius, the role he originated in the First National Company. He also created the roles of Buddy in the original Side Show (Sony cast recording); Julian Craster in Jule Styne’s last musical, The Red Shoes; and the title role in the American premiere of Cameron Mackintosh’s Martin Guerre. Hugh was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for his performance in the title role of Elton John’s Lestat, based on Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles.
He made his West End debut in the original London company of Harold Prince’s Show Boat as Gaylord Ravenal, the role he previously played in the Broadway and Toronto productions.
At the prestigious 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle, Hugh played George Seurat in Sam Buntrock’s Tony Award-winning production of Sunday in the Park with George, and Robert in Stephen Sondheim’s Company. Hugh’s performance as Jean Valjean in the Walnut Street Theater’s production of Les Misérables earned him the prestigious Barrymore Award, for which he was again nominated after a turn as Fagin in Oliver! In 2012, Hugh was honored with the Edwin Forrest Award for his long-term contribution to the theater.
An active concert artist, Panaro has performed with numerous symphony orchestras including Dallas, Detroit, San Francisco, Seattle Utah Symphonies, and the London Sinfonietta, among many others. He had the privilege of performing in the world premiere of Penderecki’s Te Deum at Carnegie Hall and was a guest soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic, conducted by Marvin Hamlisch. His recordings include Jerome Kern Treasury, the original cast recording of Side Show, Tap Your Troubles Away (Herman), The Centennial (Weil), and Life On The Wicked Stage (Kern). His first solo CD, recorded with Sony/BMG, was released in the summer of 2007. In addition, he toured throughout Europe with the legendary Barbra Streisand. A native of Philadelphia, Panaro graduated from Temple University and was awarded the Boyer College of Music Certificate of Honor.