PHOTO FLASH: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA's Ali Ewoldt In An Unexpected High School Musical Role
Born outside Chicago and raised in the Westchester, NY village of Pleasantville, the talented performer (with BA in Psychology from Yale University) Ali Ewoldt made history this summer as the first Asian-American to take the Broadway stage as Christine Daaé in Andrew Lloyd-Webber's international smash, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.
The role of the captivating ingénue who attracts the attention of two leading men seems a natural fit for Ewoldt, who made her Broadway debut as Cosette in the first Broadway revival of LES MISERABLES, understudied Tuptim in the recent revival of THE KING AND I and counts among her credits Maria in the first national tour of WEST SIDE STORY and Luisa in Off-Broadway's THE FANTASTICKS.
But perhaps later in her career, if the need arises for someone to play THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA's tempestuous diva Carlotta, it should be noted that Ewoldt has also triumphed in such a role.
As she tells BroadwayWorld, her young acting muscles were stretched in high school when she played a role that may surprise many of her fans.
"My junior year of Pleasantville High School, I played Lilli/Kate in KISS ME, KATE. The brash, confident, dramatic and aggressive role was a huge stretch for me, both at the time and, given that my professional resume is filled with sweet ingénues, even now!"
As is often the case, it was a teacher who saw the young performer's potential.
"I am so grateful to my high school voice teacher, director and mentor, Dr. Renato Vellutino, for giving me this opportunity. He encouraged me through every stool throw, slap and temper tantrum and I learned so much about myself and my craft. And now, when I play sweet ingénues, I am able to imbue them with some of the strength and complexity Dr. 'V' taught me how to tap into. I was also fortunate to have a tremendous leading man in Kyle Lowder, then the quarterback of the football team, now a daytime television star. We had a blast!"
Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, directed by Harold Prince, is the longest-running show in Broadway history, and one of the most successful stage productions of all-time. The show just got a new marquee at the Majestic Theatre and you can check out photos below!
Earlier this year, the Broadway production celebrated 28 years - an unprecedented feat achieved by no other Broadway show. The New York production has played over 11,700 performances to more than 17 million people at The Majestic Theatre (247 West 44th Street) and grossed a staggering $1 billion.
Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L'Opéra by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.