By Michael Kuchwara
NEW YORK (AP) -- Howard McGillin has played the title role in the Broadway production of "The Phantom of the Opera" longer than anyone else -- over 1,200 performances.
And he returns to the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical at the Majestic Theatre on Oct. 3. Which means McGillin will be in place for the historic Jan. 9, 2006, performance when "The Phantom of the Opera" becomes Broadway's longest-running show. On that date, it will play performance number 7,486, surpassing another Lloyd Webber musical, "Cats."
Hugh Panero, the current "Phantom" star, will continue in the show through Oct. 1. Panero is leaving the show to appear in "Lestat," a musical inspired by novelist Anne Rice's best-selling "Vampire Chronicles." It will have its world premiere in December at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco and arrive on Broadway in March.
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