Sunday, May 29, 2016

Broadway noting up-and-coming Asian/American performers in casting of 'Phantom' & 'Hamilton'

Ali Ewoldt as Maria in West Side Story.
WHILE HOLLYWOOD is stumbling around still trying to figure out this diversity thing #OscarsSoWhite, #Whitewashing, Broadway is showing signs that last year's success at integrating the stage was not a fluke.

Filipino/American Ali Ewoldt has been named as the new Christine in the long running Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera.

She’ll take over the lead role from Julia Udine on June 13.

Ewoldt whose mother is Filipino was born
 outside of Chicago and raised in Pleasantville, NY, she has a BA in Psychology from Yale University.

“I want to be able to represent all the other people of color who aspire to play Christine someday,” said Ewoldt to “Hopefully someday, everything will be open and people will have truly equal opportunities, and we can say it doesn’t matter anymore.

Ewoldt made her Broadway debut in 2006 in Mr. Mackintosh's first Broadway revival of Les Miserable as Cosette, according to Playbill. She joins direct from playing Tuptim in the Chicago Lyric Opera production of The King & I. She also appeared in the original cast of the current Lincoln Center Theater production. 

Other credits include Luisa in The Fantasticks (Off-Broadway), Maria in West Side Story (first national tour), Lili in Carnival! (Musicals Tonight) and the national tour of Les Miserables

Ewoldt will join another new cast member. Jordan Donica, who will be the first African American to play the role of Raoul.

California-raised Karla Garcia now calls New York City home.
Another Filipina/American recently joined the cast of the Tony-nominated hip-hop hit Hamilton (how's that for alliteration?).

Karla Garcia joins the Tony-nominated Phillipa Soo as Asian cast members in the multi-ethnic cast. Garcia is the first Filipina cast member. As the "swing" for female cast members, the Broadway veteran and an alumna of So You Think You Can Dance (Season 5) has to learn multiple parts in case any of the cast gets a day off or can't perform for any reason.

“I’m not in Hamilton because I’m the first Filipino,” she told NBC. “They didn’t hire me because I’m Filipino. I audition. I put in the work. I know I’m good at my job. I’m secure enough that I’m just here as a dancer. And anything else like ‘Oh you’re Asian’ or ‘You’re Filipino,’ (I say) ‘Yes thank you.’ I’m proud of that, too. I’m happy to represent the Filipino community and have a family-oriented background and parents who raised me to follow my dream. But that’s the cherry on top.”