Keke Palmer to Make Broadway Debut as Cinderella in September
This year people of color are seeing significant breakthroughs on Broadway with Norm Lewis becoming the first black man to star in the title role in The Phantom of the Opera, Nikki M. James playing Eponine in Les Miserables, James Monroe Iglehart playing the Genie in Aladdin, and Condola Rashad portraying Juliet opposite Orlando Bloom‘s Romeo.
Now actress, singer-songwriter and talk-show host Keke Palmer is set to star as the first African-American woman to play Cinderella on Broadway.
“It’s honestly one of those things that I can’t believe is really happening,” said Keke. “I’m very excited. Very excited and nervous as well — a bunch of feelings all at once.”
The 20-year-old’s theatre debut will take over the title role, currently being played by the exiting Paige Faure, beginning September 9.
“Theater offers so much more than I haven’t been able to access doing film and TV and everything like that,” she added. “I’m very excited to learn all that it has to offer — that focus and that dedication to perform at a certain level every night.”
The role of Ella was first filled by Tony-nominated Laura Osnes, then Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen.
Playwright and screenwriter Douglas Carter Beane reworked the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical fairy tale for “a new generation.”
“She acts beautifully, she dances, she sings — she’s an amazing young woman. I think she’s going to be just so lovely,” Tony Award-winning producer Robyn Goodman said, adding, “We’ve always just cast the best people for the parts. Sometimes they’re African-American, sometimes they’re Latino, sometimes Asian-American… It’s wonderful when it works out and we’ve finally found our Cinderella.”
Keke made history this year as TV’s youngest talk-show host on BET’s Just Keke.
Her recent film and television roles have been Lifetime’s Trip to Bountiful alongside Cicely Tyson, Blair Underwood and Vanessa Williams; VH1’s CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story as Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas; Showtime’s Masters of Sex, Family Guy and Grey’s Anatomy.
Forthcoming projects include Brotherly Love (2014) Ice Age 5 (2014), and The Pimp (2015).
Learn more about Cinderella on Broadway and get tickets at cinderellaonbroadway.com.