Keke Palmer is breaking barriers. Earlier this year, Palmer became the youngest African-American talk show host when Just Keke debuted on BET, and for her next role, she’s also making firsts on Broadway. Beginning Sept. 9, Palmer will become the first black Cinderella in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella at the Broadway Theatre in New York. Palmer will be grinding away with eight shows per week and is looking forward to doing it.
“It’s honestly one of those things that I can’t believe is really happening,” Palmer told the Associated Press. “I’m very excited. Very excited and nervous as well—a bunch of feelings all at once.”
Palmer has some big ruby slippers to fill as she takes over the role once played by the Tony-nominated Laura Osnes, pop star Carly Rae Jepsen and Paige Faure.
“I feel like the reason I’m able to do this is definitely because Brandy did it on TV,” Palmer said. “In me doing this, it shows everybody that everything is possible.”
Although some of Broadway may just be getting into colorblind casting, the producers of Cinderella are no strangers to it.
“We’ve always just cast the best people for the parts. Sometimes they’re African American, sometimes they’re Latino, sometimes Asian American,” said Tony Award-winning producer Robyn Goodman. “It’s wonderful when it works out and we’ve finally found our Cinderella.”
Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.