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Happy 34TH Anniversary to The Phantom Of The Opera

Happy 34TH Anniversary to The Phantom Of The Opera

The Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group blockbuster phenomenon, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera will celebrate its unprecedented 34th Anniversary on Broadway tomorrow night, Wednesday, January 26 at 7PM at The Majestic Theatre (245 West 44th Street).  Directed by the late theater legend Harold Prince, Phantom is the longest-running show in Broadway history.

Members of The Company (center: Carlton Moe as Piangi) Photo by Matthew Murphy

Following the industry-wide shut down due to the Covid pandemic, the New York production reopened on October 22, with an outdoor block party that made headlines around the world.  As much a part of the city landscape as the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, The Phantom Of The Opera  remains an iconic New York City landmark.  The 34th Anniversary will be the musical’s staggering 13,471st performance, seen by more than 19 million people.

Emilie Kouatchou Photo by Matthew Murphy

As previously announced, Emilie Kouatchou takes over as the Principal Christine the night of the Anniversary.  Ms. Kouatchou made history in October as the first Black actor to play the role of ‘Christine’ on Broadway, when she was cast as the ‘Christine’ Alternate as part of the Reopening Broadway cast.  This week, Julia Udine assumed the role of the ‘Christine’ Alternate.

Members of The Company (center: Raquel Suarez Groen as Carlotta Photo by Matthew Murphy

Continuing in their roles are 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.’

John Riddle as Raoul Photo by Matthew Murphy

The Ensemble features 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.

Maree Johnson as Madame Giry & John Riddle as Raoul Photo by Matthew Murphy

The Phantom Orchestra – Broadway’s largest, with 27 members – performs under the musical supervision of David Caddick.

Ben Crawford (The Phantom of the Opera) assumed the title role in The Phantom of the Opera in April 2018.  He previously appeared on Broadway in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Mr. Salt), Shrek The Musical (title role), Big Fish(Edward Bloom u/s, Don Price), Les Misérables (Javert/Valjean u/s) and On the Twentieth Century (Bruce Granit u/s). He’s starred in over twenty regional productions, including such leading roles as Che in Evita (Studio Tenn), Starbuck in 110 in the Shade (Ford’s Theatre), Luther Billis in South Pacific (Ogunquit Playhouse), Frederick Barrett in Titanic (MUNY) and Jud Fry in Oklahoma! (Fox Theatre). Ben performs with symphonies and orchestras across the U.S. and Canada, and just released Electronic Pandemic, an EP of Broadway classics reimagined, now available across all music platforms. He was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and received a BFA in Music Theatre from The University of Arizona. Be sure to check out Ben’s EP Electronic Pandemic and A Crawdaddy Christmas on all music streaming platforms. @crawdady21

Sara Esty as Meg Giry by Matthew Murphy

Emilie Kouatchou (Christine Daaé) is making her Broadway debut in Phantom. She appeared Off-Broadway in Unknown Soldier at Playwrights Horizons. Other recent credits include Oklahoma! (Broadway at Music Circus, Sacramento, CA); Merrily We Roll Along, Passing Strange, Me and My Girl, Violet, A Man of No Importance (The University of Michigan); and Sweeney Todd (Connecticut Repertory Theater). Born and raised in Chicago, Emilie is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Musical Theatre program. All Black Lives Matter.

At certain performances, Julia Udine plays Christine by Matthew Murphy

Ms. Kouatchou is the first Black actor to play the role of ‘Christine’ in the Broadway production. She follows current London leading lady Lucy St. Louis, who became the very first Black actor to play the role, when she reopened the London production as ‘Christine’ last summer.  In New York, Ms. Kouatchou is also preceded by Ali Ewoldt, who became the first Asian-American and person of color to play the role on Broadway in 2016.


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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