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Emilie Kouatchou Makes History As First Black Leading Actress In 'Phantom Of The Opera'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Broadway's longest running show, "The Phantom of the Opera," now has a historic cast member.

Emilie Kouatchou is taking over as the show's first Black leading actress.

At just 25 years old, Kouatchou is a part of Broadway history.

"You are a first on Broadway. How do you feel?" CBS' Danya Bacchus asked.

"It's overwhelming. It's scary and daunting and exciting all at the same time. It's so many feelings wrapped into one," Kouatchou said.

Back in October, she became the first Black actor to play the role of Christine Daaé in the New York production of "The Phantom of the Opera." She was the alternate leading lady.

Wednesday, she'll again secure a spot in history when she takes over the role full-time.

"Are you right now living out a dream?" Bacchus asked.

"Yeah, definitely. This is a show that I've, like, envisioned myself in for a while," Kouatchou said.

But she admits it almost didn't happen. When the COVID-19 pandemic halted Broadway productions, she started to rethink her future.

"Exploring other options and then, just as I was, like, literally starting to get into that, I got the audition for 'Phantom,' so it was kind of, like, crazy how that all worked out," Kouatchou said.

She wants her leading role to be one of many firsts.

"I 100% hope that this can, like, open more doors for all different kinds of Christines and all different roles on Broadway, that they can be played by anyone," Kouatchou said.

The historic moment will take place as "The Phantom of the Opera" celebrates its 34th year.

CBS' Danya Bacchus contributed to this report.

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