The MNY Spotlight

Meet Ali Ewoldt, Filipino-American Broadway Actress

Ali Ewoldt is a Filipino-American actress who made her Broadway debut in 2006 as Cosette in Les Misérables. Since then, she's performed in many other productions, such as The King and I and Phantom of the Opera, making history as the first woman of color to play the role of Christine in the show's Broadway production. 

This past weekend, Ali attended the iconic show's last performance wearing Mestiza's Wilder Gown on the red carpet.

You have quite an impressive resume! You graduated from Yale and then went on to make a name for yourself on Broadway. In 2016, you joined Phantom of the Opera as the first asian-american Christine. What was this experience like?

Thank you! It felt like both an honor and a responsibility to be the first Asian American Christine (and alas the only one in the original Broadway production now that it has closed). I had been auditioning for the show for about 10 years, so just getting to play this dream role was thrilling. And then to be able to break a boundary and to hear from many people who were energized and inspired to believe that they too belonged in a role like Christine was very meaningful to me. I remember seeing fellow Filipina Lea Salonga as Eponine in Les Miserables on Broadway when I was a child and what a huge impact that had on me--I'm not sure that if I hadn't seen someone who looked like me on Broadway that I would have believed that I could possibly have a career on stage.

Follow along at @aliewoldt

Phantom of the Opera just closed this past weekend - as the longest running musical on Broadway, what was it like being part of such an iconic show?
I am so grateful to be part of the legacy of Phantom and its "Phamily." To me Phantom has always been synonymous with Broadway. You could feel the history in the Majestic Theater and the energy of all of the incredible performers who had done that show on that stage. There was also a sense of responsibility to tell the story that Phantom's creators: Hal Prince, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Gillian Lynne, Maria Bjornsön, etc. had crafted so beautifully.
Can you tell us one of your favorite memories from playing this role?

I absolutely loved riding on the boat during the title song. Watching the candles and candelabras rising from the fog while singing that iconic music was always so magical for me.  

Ali Ewoldt during her performance as Christine in the Phantom of the Opera

Why is it so important to have representation and inclusivity in theater?

I think one of the best gifts that theater can give us is teaching us empathy--giving us a window into someone else's world and life and choices. And the more diverse and inclusive the casts and stories are, the greater chance there is for us to learn and grow. I also think it is incredibly empowering to see people/stories that we can relate to on stage-- to show us that we all matter.

What advice do you have for young girls who would like to follow in your footsteps?

There is room for you in this business. You are worthy and wanted and the most impactful things you can do are to work to be the best version of yourself and to keep showing up.

What draws you to the Mestiza brand? How does wearing the Wilder Gown make you feel?
As a mestiza myself (half Filipino, half white) I was at first just thrilled to see a company that reflected my identity. And then I saw all of the gorgeous clothes and prints (I have always loved florals in particular). I felt elegant and powerful and playful in the Wilder Gown--exactly what I wanted to feel at such an important theatrical event!

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