The Phantom of the Opera holds the title of Broadway’s longest-running show. In 2018, it will celebrate its 30th anniversary—a far-and-away unprecedented milestone.
Its 30-year running time worked in actor Michele McConnell’s favor, the production’s current Carlotta. “My first audition was 12 years before I got in,” she says in the video above. “I got the call and I joined the ensemble.
“I did about a year of understudying, then I had the privilege of getting bumped up, promoted,” she continues. “If anyone’s familiar with Broadway, that’s not necessarily a traditional trajectory for an understudy.”
Six years later, McConnell still stuns audiences with her powerful soprano. She’s completed over 2,200 performances in the role—a Broadway record. She takes immense pride in the accomplishment, and credits her longevity to her commitment to the role—and her routine to get ready for it.
“I wouldn’t say that I fully become Carlotta until the overture starts,” she admits. But you can watch her get into full costume and makeup in the transformation video above.