INTO THE WOODS Star Ali Ewoldt talks GOLD MOUNTAIN, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA & ANNE OF GREEN GABLES

Ali Ewoldt. Photo by Justin Patterson
Ali Ewoldt. Photo by Justin Patterson

Ali Ewoldt is appearing as Cinderella in Patchogue Theatre’s “INTO THE WOODS IN CONCERT” tonight at 8 p.m. and March 9 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Grammy and Emmy Award winner John McDaniel will direct and conduct.

In addition to Ms. Ewoldt, the cast stars Tony Award winner Alice Ripley as the Witch, Tony nominee Melissa Errico as the Baker’s Wife, Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis as Cinderella’s Prince and the Wolf, Alan Muraoka as the Narrator and Mysterious Man, Ayla Schwartz as Little Red Riding Hood, Jim Stanek as The Baker, Tyler Jones as Jack, and Darren Ritchie as Rapunzel’s Prince.

Ticket prices for “INTO THE WOODS IN CONCERT” range between $39 – $69, plus applicable fees, and are available online, by phone or at the box office. For more information, visit PatchogueTheatre.org, call the Patchogue Theatre Box Office at 631-207-1313, or stop by 71 East Main Street, Patchogue, NY.

Ali Ewoldt, Alan Muraoka, Alice Ripley, Melissa Errico, Constantine Maroulis and More Set for INTO THE WOODS Concert at Patchogue Theatre, March 8-9 

Ms. Ewoldt recently completed more than two years starring as Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, and made history as the first Asian American to play Christine on Broadway.

James Barbour and Ali Ewoldt in "The Phantom Of The Opera." (photo credit: Matthew Murphy)
James Barbour and Ali Ewoldt in “The Phantom Of The Opera.” (photo credit: Matthew Murphy)

In the Dressing Room with PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Star Ali Ewoldt 

She made her Broadway debut as Cosette in the 1st Broadway Revival of Les Miserables, has starred as Maria in the 1st National Tour of West Side Story, and played Luisa in the The Fantasticks Off-Broadway, the world’s longest running musical.

Nichole Forde, Ali Ewoldt, Brooke Averi and company in ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. Photo by Russ Rowland
Nichole Forde, Ali Ewoldt, Brooke Averi and company in ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. Photo by Russ Rowland

In January, Ms. Ewoldt was a joy to watch in her solo tour-de-force performance as Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables: Part I. Based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved novel, this production was adapted and directed by Chris Henry with choreography by Lorna Ventura. She seamlessly embodied the other characters of Mrs. Lynde, Marilla Cuthbert,  Matthew Cuthbert, Mrs. Spencer, Mrs. Blewett, Mrs. Berry and Diana Berry with great aplomb.

Ali Ewoldt Stars in Royal Family Productions’ ANNE OF GREEN GABLES

Renowned actors Ali Ewoldt and Jonny Lee Jr. in Gold Mountain at The TimesCenter in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang
Jonny Lee Jr. and Ali Ewoldt in GOLD MOUNTAIN at The TimesCenter in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang

In May, Ms. Ewoldt will star in concert presentations of Jason Ma’s musical, Gold Mountain, with a cast that includes Jonny Lee Jr., Alan Ariano, Raymond J. Lee (Groundhog Day), Lawrence-Michael Arias, Steven Eng (CSC’s Pacific Overtures), Eric Bondoc (Pacific Overtures, 2004 revival), Daniel May (Soft Power), Alex Hsu, Eric Elizaga and Viet Vo, as part of the Spike 150 celebration of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Kristen Lee Rosenfeld, Alan Ariano, Jonny Lee, Jr., Ali Ewoldt and Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang
Kristen Lee Rosenfeld, Alan Ariano, Jonny Lee, Jr., Ali Ewoldt and Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang

Direction will be provided by Alan Muraoka, choreography by Billy Bustamante, and music direction by Kristen Lee Rosenfeld. Performances in Salt Lake City are currently set for the Regent Street Black Box at The Eccles Theater on Wednesday, May 8 and Thursday, May 9, both at 8:00 p.m. Performances in Ogden will take place in partnership with Ogden Musical Theatre at Peery’s Egyptian Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 10 and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 11.

She took the time to answer a few questions via email in the midst of her rehearsal for Into the Woods.

Rodney Ingram and Ali Ewoldt in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA on Broadway. Photo by Matthew Murphy
Rodney Ingram and Ali Ewoldt in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA on Broadway. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Lia: You’ve just ended a two year run as Christine in Phantom of the Opera. What did you enjoy the most about your time with the show?
Ali: The people. Onstage and off. And meeting people at the stage door whose lives had been changed for the better because of Phantom. I know that sounds a little odd when referring to a dark, sometimes violent show, but Phantom really has introduced the world of musical theater to so many people and fosters communities among its “phans.”

Leone Gagliardi and Ali Ewoldt in her dressing room at The Majestic in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
Leone Gagliardi and Ali Ewoldt in her dressing room at The Majestic in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: What was the most challenging aspect about the show?
Ali: Everything! The scope of the role was very challenging– Christine is really in the vast majority of the show (or changing costume), so it required a lot of stamina. And I had to be very disciplined in my off hours to make sure I was equipped to do the shows.

Ali Ewoldt in the dressing room at The Majestic in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
Ali Ewoldt in the dressing room at The Majestic in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Have you ever done Into the Woods?
Ali: I did a reading of it once in college at Yale University many moons ago. Some of it is coming back to me…?

Ali Ewoldt. Photo by Lia Chang
Ali Ewoldt. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: How did Anne of Green Gables: Part I come to your attention?
Ali: My amazing friend Jessica Wu invited me to its previous workshop production in 2017. I grew up on the books and the mini-series and am a huge fan of the story and when I saw Christine Henry and Lorna Ventura’s interpretation I was blown away.

Choreographer Lorna Ventura, Royal Family Productions' Artistic Director Chris Henry, Ali Ewoldt and Associate Director Jessica Wu. Photo by Lia Chang
ANNE OF GREEN GABLES: PART I Choreographer Lorna Ventura, Royal Family Productions’ Artistic Director Chris Henry, Ali Ewoldt and Associate Director Jessica Wu. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: What connection do you have to Anne?
Ali: I’m not sure I realized this at the time I was reading the books in my childhood, but Anne is incredibly diligent and passionate about her studies and I am sure that inspired me. I was talking about it with some of my Yale classmates and we think it was critical for us to have read a story about a girl who loved to read and study and excel in school at a young age. Anne’s resilience and optimism is also incredibly inspiring to me– I think we could all use a little of her life outlook!

Ali Ewoldt, Kara Menendez, A. Nichole Forde, Brooke Averi, and Stephanie Young in ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. Photo by Russ Rowland
Ali Ewoldt, Kara Menendez, A. Nichole Forde, Brooke Averi, and Stephanie Young in ANNE OF GREEN GABLES: Part I. Photo by Russ Rowland

Lia: What spoke to you about the show?
Ali: The incredible heart of it. And how the story focuses on a variety of different people and different types of people who change each others lives for the better.

Kara Menendez and Ali Ewoldt in ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. Photo by Russ Rowland
Kara Menendez and Ali Ewoldt in ANNE OF GREEN GABLES Part I. Photo by Russ Rowland

Lia: I found the form of storytelling very refreshing. How did you prepare for the role?
Ali: So much homework! I recorded myself saying all of the lines and listened to that over and over. Really, getting the words down was the biggest challenge. Thankfully because of my long-standing love of the story, I understood who the various characters were immediately.

Ali Ewoldt and GOLD MOUNTAIN creator Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang
Ali Ewoldt and GOLD MOUNTAIN creator Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang

Jason Ma, the creator of Gold Mountain shared, “Gold Mountain had been entombed in a box under my bed for years, when I first met Ali at a rehearsal for a concert. It was during that rehearsal that I first heard her sing, whereupon I went home, found that box, and opened it up.  Soon after, I had my first table read, where she read the role of Mei.”

Jonny Lee, Jr., Jason Ma and Ali Ewoldt. Photo by Lia Chang
Jonny Lee, Jr., Jason Ma and Ali Ewoldt. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Jason said that you own the role of Mei. What has it been like to participate in the development of this show and the character?
Ali: Jason Ma is one of the kindest, most supportive people I have ever met– I am so grateful to him for letting me playing this part! It is so wonderful to originate a role and feel like I am a collaborator in the show’s creation.

Lia: Who have been your inspirations over the years?
Ali: Oh goodness– so many! Of course, growing up half-Filipino, Lea Salonga was a huge inspiration. I am inspired by incredible women/sopranos like Rebecca Luker and Kelli O’Hara. And really all of my friends and colleagues. I find that every time I watch or work on a show I learn so much.

Ali Ewoldt (Cosette), Adam Jacobs (Marius) and Lea Salonga (Fantine) backstage at LES MIS.
Ali Ewoldt (Cosette), Adam Jacobs (Marius) and Lea Salonga (Fantine) backstage at LES MIS.

Lia: Who are your favorite directors and composers?
Ali: Why Alan Muraoka and Jason Ma, of course! But again, it’s impossible to only name a few. Every experience I have is my favorite at the time. Currently I am obsessed with Stephen Sondheim…and singing his brilliant music properly….

Director Alan Muraoka, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA star Ali Ewoldt and author Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang
Director Alan Muraoka, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA star Ali Ewoldt and author Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: What have been your favorite roles/shows and why?
Ali: Please see above. Obviously Christine in Phantom was a big check on the wishlist and has brought me many wonderful gifts in my career. Playing Cosette in Les Miserables was also a childhood dream come true. As was Luisa in the Fantasticks. And Cinderella in Into the Woods… etc, etc, etc….

Lia: Are there any roles on your wish list?
Ali: I would love to originate a role (Gold Mountain on Broadway??). But really, there are so many challenges out there I am excited to tackle. I have been very fortunate with dream roles so far, so I am looking forward to seeing what else is in store!

Lia: What is your upcoming concert schedule?
Ali: I’m singing at 54 Below sing Andrew Lloyd Webber on March 25th. Gold Mountain in Utah in May. And some fun stuff this summer I can’t announce yet!

Jonny Lee, Jr. and Ali Ewoldt. Photo by Lia Chang
Jonny Lee, Jr. and Ali Ewoldt. Photo by Lia Chang

Patchogue Theatre’s “In Concert” series is a branch of its Broadway series and is comprised of concert versions of classic Broadway musicals; these performances only run for a limited time and showcase all the music from the show with dialogue in between, a few set pieces, and some scripts in-hand!

Sitting: Ali Ewoldt, Alan Muraoka, Jim Stanek, Madi Wyatt, Alexandra Imbrosci-Viera. Standing: Amy Jane Finnerty, Darren Ritchie, Constantine Maroulis, J. William McDaniel, Alice Ripley, Melissa Ericco, James Schultz in the rehearsal room. Photo: Facebook
Sitting: Ali Ewoldt, Alan Muraoka, Jim Stanek, Ayla Schwartz, Madi Wyatt, Alexandra Imbrosci-Viera. Standing: Amy Jane Finnerty, Darren Ritchie, Constantine Maroulis, J. William McDaniel, Alice Ripley, Melissa Ericco, James Schultz, Jonathan Fluck in the rehearsal room. Photo: Facebook

The second production in the series is a concert version of the Broadway musical “INTO THE WOODS.” With music and lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim and book written by James Lapine, “INTO THE WOODS” has earned numerous awards, including Tony Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and Olivier Awards, as well as having numerous revivals and a film version made in 2014. The musical plays with storylines from The Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales with characters from other classics such as “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, and “Rapunzel”.

GOLD MOUNTAIN Creator Jason Ma, Leah Anolin Ewoldt, Ali Ewoldt, Bob Ewoldt, Greg Ewoldt. Photo by Lia Chang
GOLD MOUNTAIN Creator Jason Ma, Leah Anolin Ewoldt, Ali Ewoldt, Bob Ewoldt, Greg Ewoldt. Photo by Lia Chang

Ali Ewoldt, Jonny Lee, Jr. and Alan Ariano Featured in Jason Ma’s Gold Mountain The Musical at MOCA 2019 Lunar New Year Soirée 

Interview with GOLD MOUNTAIN Creator Jason Ma; Ali Ewoldt, Jonny Lee, Jr. and Alan Ariano to Perform Excerpts at MOCA Lunar Soirée on February 20

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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