First Black Woman Added To Broadway's 'Phantom Of The Opera' Lead Role


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A Black woman will be taking on the lead role of Broadway's Phantom of the Opera full time for the first time in the musical's three-decade run.

Emilie Kouatchou first played the "Christine Daaé" last year, now she's taking over the role full time, becoming the first Black woman in Broadway history to do so. The history-making feat comes just as the legendary musical marks its 34th anniversary on Broadway.

Kouatchou, a native of Chicago, first joined the cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical last fall as an alternate for then-lead Meghan Picerno. Beginning this week, Kouatchou will be the new leading lady, starring alongside Ben Crawford as "The Phantom" and John Riddle as "Raoul de Chagny", The Huffington Post reported.

Last month, Kouatchou spoke with People, revealing she nearly changed careers after the Covid-19 pandemic shut down Broadway productions across the famous NYC district.

She added that while she's excited to be making Broadway history, she also remarked on how long it took for the production to cast a Black lead.

"I just think that Black women, especially in theater, have to be –– and it shouldn't be this way –– 10 times better and work 10 times harder," she said. "It took this long for any Black woman to play Christine, but there have been so many talented Black women who could have."

Kouatchou history-making role comes just months after Brittney Johnson made similar history, becoming the first Black actress to play "Glinda" in the popular Wicked musical.

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