Emilie Kouatchou, who made history in October 2021 as the first Black actor to play the role of Christine Daaé in the New York production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, secures her place in the record books when she takes over the role full-time January 26, the same night Broadway's long-running production celebrates its 34th anniversary.
Formerly the Christine alternate, Kouatchou succeeds Meghan Picerno, who played her final performance at the Majestic Theatre January 23. Taking over as the Christine Alternate is Julia Udine.
Kouatchou joins a company that features Ben Crawford as The Phantom, John Riddle as Raoul, Bradley Dean as Monsieur André, Craig Bennett as Monsieur Firmin, Raquel Suarez Groen as Carlotta Giudicelli, Maree Johnson as Madame Giry, Carlton Moe as Ubaldo Piangi, and Sara Esty as Meg Giry.
Watch highlights from the current Broadway cast above.
Lucy St. Louis became the first Black actor to play the role of Christine in the West End when she reopened the London production of Phantom in July 2021.
Checking In With… London The Phantom of the Opera Star Lucy St. Louis
The Broadway ensemble includes 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, Lindsay Roberts, Janet Saia, Paul A. Schaefer, Carly Blake Sebouhian, Jeremy Stolle, Carrington Vilmont, Jim Weitzer, Elizabeth Welch, and Erica Wong.
Directed by the late Harold Prince, The Phantom of the Opera reopened October 22, 2021, following the pandemic shutdown. The complete Phantom orchestra—Broadway’s largest—also returned, under the continued musical supervision of David Caddick with the musical’s original orchestrations.
The Phantom of the Opera has music by Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe), and a book by Stilgoe and Lloyd Webber. The production also features musical staging and choreography by Gillian Lynne, scenic and costume design by Maria Björnson, lighting design by Andrew Bridge, and sound design by Martin Levan with Caddick as music director. Cameron Mackintosh and Lloyd Webber's The Really Useful Group serve as producers.
The Broadway staging of the London-originated show won seven 1988 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Previews on Broadway began January 9, 1988, with an official opening January 26. The original Broadway cast featured Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman, Judy Kaye, and the late Steve Barton.