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Keke Palmer Will Be Broadway's First Black 'Cinderella'

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on Aug 04, 2014 08:56 PM EDT

Keke Palmer, the actress, musical artist and BET talk show host, will step into the glass slippers of Cinderella starting September 9, becoming Broadway's first African-American "Cinderella."

The announcement follows by three months the debut in Phantom of the Opera of Norm Lewis, the first African-American actor to play the title role of that musical on Broadway, and by just a few weeks the collapse of Holler If Ya Hear Me, the first Broadway musical grounded in rap music.

Palmer has pursued dual careers in acting and singing. Her movie debut came in 2004 in the film Barbershop 2: Back in Business, as Queen Latifah's niece. The following year, at age 12, she signed a record deal with Atlantic Records.

She has appeared in various TV roles, notably in the Nickelodeon sitcom True Jackson, VP. Her numerous films include The Long Shots, Madea's Family Reunion, Ice Age: Continental Drift (voice), The Longshots, Shrink, Joyful Noise, the upcoming Brotherly Love, and most notably Akeela and the Bee (2006).

Her music releases include her 2007 Atlantic debut album, singles, music videos, mixtapes, and soundtrack recordings including the main theme of the 2014 horror movie Animal in which she also co-stars.

On her BET talk show Just Keke, which premiered in June, Palmer interviews celebrities, and she and her guests cover pop culture, relationships, social issues and fashion.

Cinderella producer Robyn Goodman said in a statement, "We are excited to have this multi-talented young actress/singer join our happy Cinderella family. She grew up in the Chicago acting community and definitely has musical theatre in her blood."

Back in 2006 USA Today reported that at a very young age the ambitious Palmer pushed her family to move from Chicago to Los Angeles, and that she auditioned for The Lion King at age nine but was too young to be cast.

Palmer's Wikipedia bio doesn't list any stage credits. But then, was pop star Carly Rae Jepsen a seasoned Broadway actress when she took on the same role in which Palmer will make history next month?

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TagsKeke Palmer, Cinderella, Carly Rae Jepsen, broadway, Broadway Musical, Musical, musical theater, Norm Lewis, Phantom of the Opera, Bet