A star is born! Emilie Kouatchou is making historical past as the primary Black actress to play Phantom of the Opera’s Christine Daaé — and she or he doesn’t take the second evenly.
“When individuals come to New York, they need to see Broadway magic and I believe that’s what Phantom is,” Kouatchou, 25, mentioned throughout a Right this moment present interview on Thursday, February 24.
Christine is the protagonist within the longest-running Broadway musical, with each Erik (A.Okay.A. the Phantom of the Opera) and Viscount Raoul de Chagny falling in love along with her. The College of Michigan alum, who first auditioned for the manufacturing after graduating in 2019, didn’t at all times assume she might tackle the starring function of such an iconic present.
“I believe my mindset was nonetheless that this function was not for me, which is only a unhappy actuality,” she defined. “And it took numerous unlearning simply to have the ability to say, ‘No, I can do that.’”
When the time got here to carry out Christine’s musical moments throughout her audition, Kouatchou felt assured. “I knew I might sing the heck out of Christine,” she added.
The Illinois native served as Christine’s understudy earlier than taking up the function full-time in January. Her October 2021 fill-in efficiency, nevertheless, made her the primary Black actress to play Christine within the present’s 34-year run.
“Final night time???? Oh, child we had a ball on the Majestic. I’m simply so so grateful for everybody who got here, who took the time to put in writing such sort messages to me, and each single one who has supported my all through the years,” Kouatchou wrote by way of Instagram on the time.
She added: “If you happen to’re Black and also you’re studying this, TAKE UP SPACE. You might be lovely. That is our time. 🖤.”
Throughout her Right this moment interview, Kouatchou appeared again on the second she realized that she was now not the understudy, however the star.
She pointed to the time she sang “Consider Me” with the orchestra, saying, “I simply bear in mind getting, like, so choked up I couldn’t bear in mind the tune.”
The previous Nice White Manner star famous that one of many principal causes she has been in a position to break down obstacles is as a result of she noticed ladies of colour performing when she was a baby.
“I believe it makes all of the distinction. I grew up seeing individuals like Audra McDonald and Heather Headley on stage, being wonderful,” she mentioned. “They had been the those who gave me hope that I might have a profession on this. In the event that they hadn’t executed what that they had executed, I in all probability wouldn’t be right here.”