Last year, Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera made history by casting the New York production’s first African-American Phantom, Norm Lewis. The Broadway veteran was the second African-American to take on the role, over two decades after Robert Guillaume succeeded Michael Crawford in the Los Angeles production.
*featured image taken from https://aliewoldt.com/
Today, the show is set to make history again with not one, but two new actors. Jordan Donica, who replaces Jeremy Hays, will be the first African-American to play Raoul on Broadway, and Filipino-American Ali Ewoldt will be the show’s first ever Asian-American Christine.
Ewoldt is no stranger to the Great White Way, having played Cosette in the 2006 revival of Les Misérables. She also stars in the Tony Award winning revival of the King and I, which currently plays at the Lincoln Centre Theatre. Speaking with Broadway.com, Ewoldt expressed her excitement over the progressiveness in casting decisions.
Ewoldt and Donica will begin their runs as Christine and Raoul, respectively, on June 13, 2016.
This casting decision is another huge step forward for many people of color all over the world, seeing as the roles that were previously out of their reach are now on the table. Race and gender boundaries are being shattered everywhere in the theater industry, with people of color playing founding fathers in the smash-hit Hamilton, to Tony-winner Lena Hall playing Hedwig (a role created for males) in the national tour of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. All this, while the world becomes more and more involved in the discussion of race and female representation in Hollywood, as well as it’s repercussions on society.