Hit movie 'Amelie' reincarnates as a Broadway musical starring Phillipa Soo

Monday, April 10, 2017 05:00PM
Sandy Kenyon has the latest

NEW YORK, New York - Broadway is paving the way for the international hit "Amelie" in a musical adaption of the story, and its star is the calm face of change on the Great White Way.

Movie-goers were introduced to the French film version more than a decade and a half ago, in 2001. And on April 3, Phillipa Soo opened on Broadway in the title role.

Her talent has been called incandescent, and Soo has played a vital role in the development of three musicals now on Broadway.

She was the first to play a Russian princess in "Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812," before originating the role of Eliza Hamilton in the musical "Hamilton."

"Amelie" was a movie that inspired young Phillipa as a teen growing up in Chicago.

"I just felt it was the beginning of my journey in becoming an artist," Soo said.

Just five years ago, Soo was a student at the famed Juilliard School before finding fame as the wife of "Hamilton."

"My grandmother, my Chinese grandmother, passed right before 'Hamilton' went to Broadway," Soo said. "But she was able to see what was happening in that, and to know that she could see her granddaughter up there playing one of the founding mothers of this country was really special to me."

The hit musical became a landmark for many reasons, not the least of which was the diversity it brought to the Broadway stage.

"I think we've opened up a door," she said. "I think we've opened up a door that we can't close."

She also originated a role as a Russian princess now being portrayed by Denee Benton, and while "Hamilton" plays right down the street, Soo now stars as a French girl.

It's progress, even if it still falls short of perfection.

"There's some things that I still have to point out to people as a half Asian-America woman, like 'Oh, you can't say those things,'" Soo said. "But we're growing and changing, and especially the Broadway community is ahead of the game."

Her role originating these musicals makes her even more influential than the average star, and yet, she wears her success so lightly. She said that putting up a new show is like "solving a mystery," figuring out how to make a character live and breathe.

And that's exactly what she's done with "Amelie."
(Copyright ©2018 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)