Emilie Kouatchou and the cast of ‘The Phantom of the Opera.’ (Production photo: Matthew Murphy)
Angel of music! Emilie Kouatchou will make her Broadway debut and will be the first Black actress to perform as Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera. Following a nationwide open call for auditions, Kouatchou (who was performing in Unknown Soldier at Playwrights Horizons before the pandemic closed theaters) has landed the role of the Christine alternate in Broadway’s longest-running musical. Before the pandemic, Ali Ewoldt had starred in the Broadway company as the first Asian American actress to play Christine.
Many Broadway shows employ alternates, who usually perform matinees and sing for vocally demanding roles. Kouatchou joins Ben Crawford, Meghan Picerno and John Riddle who will reprise their leading roles as the Phantom, Christine, and Raoul, respectively. The rest of the principals include Bradley Dean, Craig Bennett, Raquel Suarez Groen, Maree Johnson, and Carlton Moe will also all return to their roles. Sara Esty joins the company as Meg Giry, and the ensemble features Giselle Alvarez, Polly Baird, Janinah Burnett, Xiaoxiao Cao, David Michael Garry, Chris Georgetti, Kelly Jeanne Grant, Katharine Heaton, Satomi Hofmann, Ted Keegan, Kfir, Kelly Loughran, Scott Mikita, Greg Mills, Justin Peck, Patricia Phillips, Richard Poole, Jessica Radetsky, Janet Saia, Paul A. Schaefer, Carly Blake Sebouhian, Jeremy Stolle, Carrington Vilmont, Jim Weitzer, Elizabeth Welch, and Erica Wong.
The Phantom of the Opera returns to the Majestic Theatre starting October 22 after having closed in March of 2020 due to COVID-19. The blockbuster, like all Broadway venues, will require masks and proof of vaccination for entry. In-person box office sales are now available at the theater.
The Phantom of the Opera features music by Andrew Lloyd Williams, lyrics by Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe, and a book based on Gaston Leroux’s novel. The production opened on Broadway in 1988 and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. Harold Prince directed the production, which originally starred Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman.