by Ali Ewoldt
After receiving the message in the image above on Facebook, Broadway actor Ali Ewoldt responded with the following statement. The following is reposted from Ali Ewoldt's Instagram with her permission.
Dear Ms. _____,
Hello. I appreciate you coming to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and am sorry that my performance did not meet your expectations.
However, I found your message to be unnecessarily cruel. I feel compelled to tell you this because I believe that there is too much meanness on the internet and in real life right now. Just a few months ago, I attended the heartbreaking funeral of an 11 year old boy who chose to take his own life because he was being bullied.
Obviously there are many differences between me and this boy: I am an adult; I have chosen to be a performer and thus am continually putting myself and my craft out in the world for others to judge. I have even gone so far as to create a FB fan page for myself which is where you messaged me. However, I am still a human being. And your words hurt me deeply. Because our words are incredibly powerful, particularly the negative ones. Our brains are hardwired to retain negative or hurtful information because we once used this to survive. As soon as I read them, your words began a continual loop in my head and I am sure they will always be present somewhere in my mind for the rest of my time at Phantom if not my entire career.
I do not know you. I can see from the internet that: you are an adult, you are a patron of the opera, you posted a picture of the quote “always stay humble and kind” on your twitter page. I can infer from these things that you care about the arts and about people. And this compels me to tell you that your message did nothing to help either of those things. They did not inspire me to perform in a “better” manner. I already aspire to continually improve my performance, holding myself to the highest standard and criticizing every mistake I make. And tonight, instead of focusing on the story of Phantom, part of my brain was lost in the new seeds of self-doubt and shame you planted.
I do not imagine my words will change the way you choose to behave. But I do hope that they will inspire others to treat each other with more compassion and kindness. Because we truly are all in this world together.