Following a stint by pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen, the Broadway show Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella is getting another interesting casting choice: former Nickelodeon star Keke Palmer will take on the lead role, becoming the first black Cinderella on The Great White Way.
Palmer is just 20 years old, but she's a showbiz veteran: She made her film debut at age 10 in Barbershop 2, and went on to many other projects, including starring roles in the excellent film Akeelah and the Bee and the Nickelodeon show True Jackson, V.P. She's dropped a mixtape and a studio album, and belted out a Michael Jackson cover in the Dolly Parton/Queen Latifah flick Joyful Noise, so her pipes should be able to handle Broadway.
Broadway has been steadily attracting black audiences, but the fact that Palmer's landed the role of Cinderella is important: Color-blind casting breathes new life into stories and opens up opportunities to actors of color. The AP notes:
Winning the role of Cinderella is the latest breakthrough for African-Americans on Broadway, joining Norm Lewis as the first black man to play the title role in "The Phantom of the Opera," Nikki M. James playing Eponine in "Les Miserables," James Monroe Iglehart as the manic Genie in "Aladdin" and Condola Rashad as Juliet opposite Orlando Bloom's Romeo.
Palmer has, of course, seen the ultimate color-blind Cinderella, starring Brandy and Whitney Houston. From the AP:
"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."
And she's not nervous about the live audience, she tells Vanity Fair Hollywood: "Thinking about that [Broadway audience] gives me energy… Seeing that many people in the audience, who you can't recognize, that's what excites you and gets you pumped."
Earlier this year, Palmer made history by being the youngest talk show host ever on TV. It's not enough to say this young lady is on a roll — she seems poised for sheer domination.
Image via Getty.