It was announced yesterday that Keke Palmer will be joining the cast of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella as it’s leading lady — becoming the first black woman to play Cinderella on Broadway. “It’s honestly one of those things that I can’t believe is really happening,” Palmer told the AP. “I’m very excited. Very excited and nervous as well — a bunch of feelings all at once.”
Keke’s childhood hero, actress and singer Brandy Noorwood, played the role of Cinderella in the 1997 TV adaptation that also starred Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother. Keke credits Brandy with giving her the strength to play the role, telling the AP, “I feel like the reason I’m able to do this is definitely because Brandy did it on TV”.
While we wait with baited breathe for Keke to step into her new shoes September 9th at New York’s Broadway Theater, we must pause to recognize the breakthrough year it has been for diversity on Broadway. Just a couple of months ago Norm Lewis, Tony award nominee, received a standing ovation as the first black man to lead the Broadway production of the Phantom of the Opera. Both Lewis and Palmer give us reason to celebrate and a reason to believe that dreams can come true – regardless of skin tone.