“I want to make sure that I am doing the best job that I can every night when I’m telling the story.” – Ali Ewoldt
As the longest-running show in Broadway history, The Phantom of the Opera has seen many firsts and milestones in its 28 year run. But one “first” it did not hit until earlier this year. Currently, the lead role of Christine Daaé is portrayed by Filipino American actress Ali Ewoldt after recently appearing in The King and I on Broadway. Ewoldt is the first woman of color to play Christine. In an interview with In Style, Ewoldt speaks about how much of an impact being the first minority actress to star in the lead of Broadway’s most iconic musical.
“It was so exciting to be cast in the role—period. But to have this honor on top of it is pretty incredible,” Ewoldt says of her milestone. “It feels much bigger than me getting to play a dream part. It’s really about opening up opportunities for other people, too. And there is a great responsibility that comes with that. I want to make sure that I am doing the best job that I can every night when I’m telling the story.”
Ewolt says that the most gratifying part is hearing from fans who are inspired by her performance. Ewoldt says, “I’ve been approached by a lot of girls outside the stage door who have said, ‘I never thought that this would be possible, but now that you’re doing it, I think that I can, too.’ That’s huge for me.”
In fact, Ewoldt can see how minority actresses could connect with a character like Christine Daaé, who had limited opportunities in the world of the play before revealing her talent. Ewoldt explains, “I connect to her because she is a woman trapped in a world that doesn’t give her a lot of options, but somehow she finds her way through and finds her power. One of my first songs is ‘Think of Me,’ which is essentially a young dancer getting to play her dream role in an opera. For me, that journey is a really exciting thing to tap into.”