Twenty-three years after starting her theatrical career as Christine Daaé in the Australian production of The Phantom of the Opera, actor Maree Johnson makes her Broadway debut in Phantom as Madame Giry.
Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Johnson first took the practical approach to her career as a social welfare worker. But when The Phantom of the Opera came to Australia, the longtime lover of American musical theatre auditioned for the show and earned the spot as leading lady. She started out as the understudy to Christine in the original Australian production, which ran in Melbourne from 1990 to 1993, and then moved up to play the soprano full time when the Ausralian production picked up and moved to Sydney in 1994.
Johnson, who has made a career in Australian productions of such iconic shows as Les Misérables, West Side Story, and My Fair Lady, makes her Broadway debut as the stern ballet master of the titular opera house.
“To be able to start your career at a young age and play Christine Daaé is quite a gift, the role is epic and now to come back 20-something years later and play another character in the show,” she pauses, “that makes me teary.”