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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Currently starring as bombshell Ado Annie on the national tour of the 2019 revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma, Sis is both an actress and an activist. She made history as the first Black trans actress to play the role and continues to break barriers and advocate for both the Black community and the transgender community.

In 2021, she organized the Trans March on Broadway after-theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh’s transphobic comments regarding trans performers in his shows. In addition, she also runs a non-profit organization called “The Next Generation Project,” which seeks to aid Black trans performers with mental health resources.

Brittney Johnson

Making her Broadway debut in “Motown: The Musical,” Brittney Johnson is a mainstay in the Broadway community. She made history in the 2014 revival of “Les Miserables” as the first Black woman to play the roles of both Eponine and Fantine in one day.

In 2019, Johnson made history for the second time as the first Black woman to play the iconic role of Glinda the Good in Broadway’s “Wicked,” as she served as the Glinda understudy. Rising the ranks, Johnson will assume the role of Glinda full time on Broadway beginning in February 2022. In addition to all of her incredible career highlights, Johnson is also a voice coach and a life coach.

Adrienne Warren

Hailing from Virginia, Adrienne Warren has been making moves on Broadway since her debut in the 2012 musical adaptation of “Bring It On.” Warren has since been in three Broadway productions and nominated for two Tony Awards.

In 2020, Warren won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as the titular role in “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.” In addition to this, Warren is on the board of the Broadway Advocacy Coalition which seeks to address systemic racism in the theatre industry.

Danielle Brooks

Danielle Brooks took the New York City theatre industry by a storm as her turn as Sofia in the 2015 Broadway revival of “The Color Purple.” She was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical during that Broadway season.

Brooks is also known for her role in Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” as Tasha Jefferson. In February 2022, it was announced that Brooks would be reprising her role as Sofia in the movie musical of The Color Purple starring Fantasia.

emilie kouatchou

In 2021, Emilie Kouatchou made theatre history in the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera. She was the first Black actress to play iconic soprano Christine Daae in the New York City production. Kouatchou began with the company as an alternate, playing the role twice a week and has since taken over the role full time.

Zahra is a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in Journalism and Strategic Advertising with minors in French and Musical Theatre. She is a diehard Taylor Swift fan and likes to rewatch Legally Blonde every 3-5 business days. In her spare time, she likes to hang out with her two cats, Bonnie and Clyde, and spend an inordinate amount of time on Tiktok.