Tanya Taupier works as the executive director of Aetna’s human resources department in Hartford, Connecticut. When she is not working, Tanya Taupier enjoys Broadway musicals, with The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables being two of her favorites. Recently, Filipino actress Ali Ewoldt became the first woman of color cast as Phantom’s Christine Daaé, the love story’s leading lady.
With InStyle calling her debut worthy of a standing ovation, Ewoldt said she was honored to be cast in the role and hopes it helps open the door to further diversity on the street sometimes referred to as The Great White Way. The actress’s first Broadway role was as Cosette in another classic, Les Misérables.
Ali Ewoldt’s story mirrors that of another history-making Filipino actress, Lea Salonga. In 1993, the Tony Award-winner became the first Asian woman to play Eponine in Les Mis. Salonga later went on to star in many other musicals, release her own albums, and sing in multiple Disney movies before making the move to television. In 2007, she returned to Les Misérables to play the role of Fantine.
As a child, Ali Ewoldt remembers seeing Lea Salonga perform her historic role. Now she hopes she can inspire other young actresses the way Salonga inspired her.