It’s shaping up to be a banner year for diversity on Broadway. In addition to casting the first black Phantom of the Opera, it was announced today that that Keke Palmer will be Broadway’s first black Cinderella, joining the production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at New York’s Broadway Theater starting September 9. “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.”
She also paid homage to another African-American woman who donned Cinderella’s glass slippers before her: Pop singer Brandy, who starred as the titular princess in a 1997 TV movie alongside Whitney Houston as the fairy godmother. “I feel like the reason I’m able to do this is definitely because Brandy did it on TV,” she added, calling Brandy one of her heroes. “In me doing this, it shows everybody that everything is possible.”
This marks Palmer’s professional stage debut, but the 21-year-old has a pretty impressive résumé: She has her own studio album (2007’s So Uncool), hosts her own talk show Just Keke on BET, and has starred in movies including Barbershop 2: Back in Business, Akeelah and the Bee, and VH1’s CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story. She most recently guested on Masters of Sex as Coral, the Masters’ new nanny.