A diva, a protégé, a former lover, a chance at stardom, romance, jealousy, the “opera ghost” and an epic musical score all come together for the U.S. tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera.
CAWLM spoke with Trista Moldovan, who plays the role of Christine Daaé, about the show, her experience in theatre and her work with soap opera stars Joan Collins and Susan Lucci.
Moldovan: It’s been 18 months.
CAWLM: Have you always played the role of Christine?
Moldovan: No. I started in the ensemble for a few weeks, and then the Christine lead was asked to perform the role on Broadway and they offered the role for the tour to me.
CAWLM: Wow! That’s pretty fast.
Moldovan: Yes, it was about a month after I joined the tour that I got the role.
CAWLM: What got you interested in playing Christine?
Moldovan: I’m originally from Cleveland, OH, and the tour would perform at the PlayhouseSquare. When I was 12, I went with my family and fell in love with the show. I got the double cassette soundtrack and would listen to it constantly!
CAWLM: Did you ever think “I’m going to play the role of Christine one day”?
Moldovan: Never in a million years when I was 12 did I think I’d be performing this role!
CAWLM: Has your family seen you perform in Phantom?
Moldovan: Yes, a few times. Each time my parents come to see the show, my mom has tears streaming down her face.
CAWLM: Will the tour go to Cleveland?
Moldovan: We will be there in July and August.
CAWLM: So it will be like it has come full circle for you, right?
Moldovan: Yes it will.
CAWLM: Christine’s role is quite intense, and you perform it six times a week. How do you maintain your stamina?
Moldovan: It’s sort of like playing a sport. You train those muscles to perform certain things, and then the body does the rest. When I first started I thought, “Oh my gosh, I don’t think I can do this.” But as I continued to rehearse, I was able to perform each night.
CAWLM: I understand that you have also done some television. You’ve been on The Guiding Light, All My Children and As the World Turns. What roles did you play in each of those?
Moldovan: I was on Guiding Light back when Joan Collins was on the show, and I played a maid for the Spaulding family.
CAWLM: Did Joan give you any acting advice?
Moldovan: Actually I was so star-struck by her that I didn’t ask her about any of that!
CAWLM: What about All My Children?
Moldovan: I met Susan Lucci. She’s so tiny! She’s like a little porcelain doll! On the show I played a few different roles, always related to a bar — bartender, someone dancing in a bar. On As the World Turns, I was a bystander of a car accident.
CAWLM: Did you enjoy doing television?
Moldovan: I did. It is a completely different world from theatre. My heart’s not really into film and television, but I’m glad for the experience.
CAWLM: What do you hope audiences leave with after seeing Phantom?
Moldovan: It’s such an iconic show. It’s such an amazing experience. I hope they leave with the same sense of magic I had when I saw it for the first time.