Kick Off Black History Month with 41 African American Actors Starring on Broadway RN
February 1st, 2019
by Josh Ferri
It’s February 1, officially the start of Black History Month, and we are kicking things off with a look at 41 African American actors and actresses who are currently playing a principal role in a Broadway show right now.
Gbenga Akinnaghe (Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird)
Known for TV roles on The Wire, The Deuce, The Good Wife, Graceland and Nurse Jackie, Gbenga makes his Broadway debut as the young man on trial in the beloved Harper Lee classic.
Jelani Alladin (Kristoff in Frozen)
Jelani makes his Broadway debut as the romantic lead of Disney’s hit musical adaptation of the animated film Frozen. Jelani originated the role and will play it through February 17 when Noah Ricketts takes over.
Terence Archie (Harrison Howell in Kiss Me, Kate
(Ok, Kiss Me, Kate doesn’t start until February 14, but we are counting it). Last seen in Broadway’s Rocky, Terence plays Kelli O’Hara’s stuffy fiancé in the RTC revival.
Nicholas L. Ashe (Junior Davis in Choir Boy)
The first of many Broadway debuts from the nearly all-black cast of the acclaimed Broadway production of Choir Boy. Nicholas (known for the TV series Queen Sugar) wins audiences hearts as the adorable sidekick, Junior.
Major Attaway (Genie in Aladdin)
Major Attaway slayed us when he made his Broadway debut as the Genie in Aladdin. The longtime Genie leaves the lamp February 14 with Michael James Scott stepping in on February 15.
Denée Benton (Eliza Hamilton in Hamilton)
The Great Comet Tony nominee returns to Broadway as Eliza, serving us some stunning vocals and strong performance.
Phoenix Best (Alana Beck in Dear Evan Hansen
Phoenix is perfectly adorkable as over-achiever Alana in the heartbreaking & Tony-winning musical.
Corbin Blue (Lucentio/Bill Calhoun in Kiss Me, Kate
We can’t wait to see what the Holiday Inn and In the Heights alum does with this big, flashy dance role.
Joshua Boone (Frank Hackett in Network)
More people need to be talking about Joshua’s performance as the cut-throat, Machiavellian TV exec in this hit adaptation of Network. The Holler If Ya Hear Me alum is equal parts alluring and ruthless.
Daniel Breaker (Aaron Burr in Hamilton)
The Tony nominee (known for his performances in Shrek and Passing Strange) stars in the Tony-winning role of Burr. His “Wait for It” is absolutely epic.
John Clay III (AJ in Choir Boy)
Another Choir Boy debut from John Clay III. He plays the straight, jock roommate who everyone wishes they had in their corner during high school.
Chuck Cooper (Headmaster Marrow in Choir Boy)
The Tony Award winner plays a sympathetic, caring, and just headmaster of the all-boys prep school in Choir Boy.
Charity Angel Dawson (Becky in Waitress)
When Charity belts “I Didn’t Plan it” as the no-nonsense diner waitress Becky, you can feel it in the theatre. Her voice is that powerful.
Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)
The two-time Olivier Award winner reprised her Olivier-winning performance as a grown up Hermione for Broadway audiences, and scored herself a 2018 Tony nomination.
Caleb Eberhardt (David Heard in Choir Boy)
Guessed it again, another Choir Boy debut from this singer/actor. Caleb plays David, a deeply religious teen with a secret past.
Kim Exum (Nabulungi in The Book of Mormon)
Kim Exum makes her Broadway debut in the Tony-winning role in the Tony-winning blockbuster musical.
Callum Francis (Lola in Kinky Boots)
After starring in the London and Australian productions, Callum brings his award-winning Lola to Broadway, and the children are LIVING for this fierce debut.
Bradley Gibson (Simba in The Lion King)
For his performance as Simba, Bradley was named one of our favorite replacement stars of 2018. You have to see this king in action.
Cuba Gooding Jr. (Billy Flynn in Chicago)
The Oscar winner has done two tours of Broadway’s Chicago and opened the newest London production. He stars through February 10.
De’Lon Grant (Bob & Others in Come From Away)
The acclaimed musical marks the Broadway debut for this charming and funny actor, photographer, and podcaster.
Susan Heyward (Rose Granger-Weasley in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)
Susan brought this smart and determined character to life for Broadway audiences as part of the OBC of this Tony-winning theatrical event.
James Monroe Iglehart (Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton)
A Tony winner for his performance as the Genie in Aladdin, JMI brings all that energy to this Tony-winning supporting role. His “What’d I Miss” will have you smiling from ear to ear.
LaTanya Richardson Jackson (Calpurnia in To Kill a Mockingbird)
This Tony nominee brings such dimension to the beloved character of the Finch family caretaker.
Sterling Jarvis (Mafala Hatimbi inThe Book of Mormon)
The award-winning Canadian actor makes his Broadway debut singing LOL obscenities as Nabulungi’s father in the hit musical, a role he also played in Canada.
J. Quinton Johnson (Bobby Marrow in Choir Boy)
This Hamilton alum plays the bully of Choir Boy and does a damn good job at it.
Joanna A. Jones (Maria/Peggy in Hamilton)
Joanna could be a recording sensation, but we are blessed that she’s on Broadway right now. The School Girls alum takes that money note in “Say No to This” to the next level.
James T. Lane (Paul in Kiss Me, Kate)
The A Chorus Line and Scottsboro Boys alum has the showstopping Cole Porter number “It’s Too Darn Hot”.
Carvens Lissaint (George Washington in Hamilton)
The former subway & street performer now makes his Broadway debut as America’s first president in the biggest hit—if that’s not what this show and this country are all about, what is?
Sky Lakota-Lynch (Jared Kleinman in Dear Evan Hansen)
It’s a Broadway debut for Sky, who lands laugh after laugh after laugh as the title character’s tech-savvy family friend.
Michael Luwoye (Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton)
Michael broke out onto the scene with his incredible performance in off-Broadway’s Invisible Thread and now he makes his Broadway debut as the title character in Hamilton.
Tshidi Manye (Rafiki in The Lion King)
The actress from Johannesburg has been with The Lion King since the Toronto production opened in 2004 (15 years!). That is a lot of “Circle of Life”.
Julian Elijah Martinez (Harry Hunter in Network)
Julian makes a striking and commanding Broadway debut as Bryan Cranston’s TV producer in the stylish new play.
Christiani Pitts (Ann Darrow in King Kong)
Jeremy Pope (Pharus Jonathan Young in Choir Boy)
Jeremy Pope gives a Broadway debut for the books as the proud, gay teen in this drama from Moonlight’s Tarell Alvin McCraney. What’s most insane: Jeremy immediately jumps from this show into the Temptations bio-musical Ain’t Too Proud.
Q. Smith (Hannah & Others in Come From Away)
She has been with this show from day one, and she still brings audiences to tears nightly with her performance as a mother who lost a child during 9/11.
Wallace Smith (James Madison/Hercules Mulligan in Hamilton)
A Broadway mainstay, Wallace has previously starred in Godspell, Les Miz, Hair and The Lion King. Now he brings comic relief to musical theatre’s most incredible history lesson.
L. Steven Taylor (Mufasa in The Lion King)
The King of Pride Rock first made his Broadway debut in the Disney musical back in 2006, and took over the role of Mufasa back in July 2015.
Adrienne Walker (Hattie in Kiss Me, Kate)
The Lion King alum kicks off the RTC revival with the big opening number “Another Op’nin’ Another Show”.
Christian Dante White (Freddy Eynsford-Hill in My Fair Lady)
Christian brought those soaring vocals to the Hello, Dolly! revival when he played Cornelius, and now he’s bringing them to the Beaumont for LCT audiences when he sings “On the Street Where You Live”.
NaTasha Yvette Williams (Matron Mama Morton in Chicago)
Chicago audiences are in for a treat because NaTasha brings her killer pipes to her role as The Countess of the Clink.
Syndee Winters (Nala in The Lion King)
This singer and actress has appeared in Broadway’s Hamilton, Pippin, & Motown, and now she slays Disney audiences with her “Shadowland”.