Five Burning Questions with Anne of Green Gables Star Ali Ewoldt

Last updated January 23rd, 2019 by Josh Ferri
Five Burning Questions with Anne of Green Gables Star Ali E…

Photo by Russ Roland

Fresh off her acclaimed run as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera, Ali Ewoldt brings to the stage Lucy Maud Montgomery's iconic and beloved story of Anne of Green Gables: Part 1. The one-person show runs January 24-February 11 at off-Broadway's The Royal Family Performing Arts Space, and plays in rep with Anne of Green Gables: Part 2 (starring Doreen Montalvo) January 31-February 10.

Ali Ewoldt- Anne of Green Gables

BroadwayBox caught up with Ali (who also starred on Broadway in revivals of Les Miserables and The King and I) to talk about her history with Anne, her biggest Phantom mishap, and advice for young sopranos.

1. What excited you most about this production of Anne of Green Gables? Why did you sign on to play Anne?
I have been pretty much obsessed with the story of Anne of Green Gables since I was a little kid. I grew up on the books—I had the full seven-novel set and I was totally obsessed with the 1985 miniseries with Megan Follows and Colleen Dewhurst. Anne has always been one of those characters and stories that really warmed my heart and inspired me, so the opportunity to portray her (as well as all the other people in her world) was a thrill to me. Then on top of that I had seen an earlier workshop of it in the summer of 2017 and I thought it was such a beautiful telling of it.

2. As a life-long fan of the material, what was something you knew you wanted to bring to your Anne?
I wanted to make sure my telling of it keeps the heart of the piece alive—all the original intentions and the beautiful storytelling. What I love so much about the story really is the heart connected to it, both with Anne and all the characters she interacts with. I wanted to make sure I maintained the heart of all these people.

3. Other than Anne of Green Gables, what were the other beloved books and stories of your childhood?
Definitely The Secret Garden and Little Women. Those three (and The Baby-Sitters Club books, which I also read voraciously. Huge fan of The Baby-Sitters Club) are all very female-driven and are about young girls finding their way, coming into their own, and dealing with their individual adversities and triumphing. It was pretty exciting to read as a kid.

4. You had this groundbreaking, years-long run as Christine Daae in Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera. What was your biggest onstage mishap during that time?
Oh gosh, just one? I fell down…a lot. I’m not generally a person who trips and falls onstage but there’s something about the long dresses and trains—they get stuck on things, including other people’s feet and my own feet. I had some massive wipe-outs. Thankfully, I never hurt myself and was able to bounce right back up, but that was a fairly frequent mishap that happens on that stage. It’s not what you expect from this beautiful, period piece.

5. What’s your best piece of advice for young sopranos to care and grow their voice?
For whatever reason, I’ve always stuck with being a soprano. It’s difficult in this business; it’s not trendy or cool to be a soprano—the way it used to be during the Golden Age. But I really stuck to it because that’s the way I love to sing and that’s what my voice wants to do. In taking care and making sure I had great voice teachers and great technique, I’ve really honed those skills and the roles have appeared. I have been able to work as a legit soprano.

So, I would say, first and foremost accept who you are and don’t be ashamed of it. Continue to be the best version of yourself you can be—don’t try to imitate what someone else is doing. Be proud to be a soprano—you’re part of a huge legacy of remarkable singers. And don’t let anybody force you into something you don’t feel comfortable doing. Surround yourself with people you trust and follow your own gut and instinct.

Don't miss Ali Ewoldt in 'Anne of Green Gables' January 24-February 11 at off-Broadway's The Royal Family Performing Arts Space.