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Emilie Kouatchou makes 'Phantom' history on Broadway

The rising star, Emilie Kouatchou, almost quit musical theater during the pandemic shutdown, but she persevered.
Credit: AP
Ben Crawford portrays The Phantom, left, and Emilie Kouatchou portrays Christine in a performance of "The Phantom of the Opera" in New York. Kouatchou is the first Black woman to play the role in the show’s 33-year history. (Matthew Murphy via AP)

NEW YORK — Rising stage star Emilie Kouatchou came close to quitting musical theater during Broadway's pandemic shutdown. She stuck with it and has made history. 

The actor and soprano late last month made her Broadway debut as Christine in “The Phantom of the Opera,” becoming the first Black woman in the role in the show’s 33-year history in New York. 

A beaming Kouatchou at the curtain call on Oct. 27 virtually sprinted onto the stage as the audience and her castmates cheered and hooted, holding her arms in the sky like a marathon runner snapping the finish-line tape. 

She said, "that night was like the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”

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