Maree Johnson’s Take on the Role of Madame Girly

Mysterious, enigmatic, and a strong female character – is there a better way to describe Madame Girly from The Phantom of the Opera? Don’t let her last name (Girly) fool you, the ballet mistress is not a benchwarmer. She has an authoritative persona that demands respect – well, according to Maree Johnson, who plays the character.

In an interview with Paul Wontorek from, Johnson says that Madame Girl “reminds me of many strong women that you come across in life, especially in the arts.” “There’s a dedication. There’s a commitment to her artistry. She’s very passionate and disciplined, and it just makes sense, especially for this era. Being the ballet mistress and the choreographer, she has an air of authority and carries herself with some emotional background and compassion, too.”

Johnson continues by saying that “There’s something mysterious about her that we’re not quite sure…She’s involved in every character, shadowing them or delivering a note. She’s kind of steering the ship, really.” These are words from a seasoned performer who has had the privilege of playing and witnessing the character. Regarding the latter, Johnson played Christine Daaé during her earlier acting years at the first Australian production of the much-acclaimed The Phantom of the Opera.

When asked about her motivation, Johnson replied that she started by “singing it in the shower and it spun off from there.” “So it really opened the doors to other things. It brought me to America” she says. PS: Maree Johnson is an Australian native who has starred in several musicals in her career, including Cats (as Grizabella).

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