Do you want to build a snowman?
Aisha Jackson does. The musical theater actress who is the understudy to Patti Murin stepped into the role of Princess Anna in Disney’s Frozen on Broadway Thursday night. Though the Broadway stage has been an area where Disney has seen more inclusive representations of its princesses (Toni Braxton played Belle in Beauty and the Beast, for instance), it still marked a major moment for diversity on stage. It was the first time Jackson has stepped in for Murin since Frozen opened on Broadway earlier this month.
Jackson’s costar Jelani Alladin, who portrays Anna’s love interest Kristoff, celebrated the moment with an Instagram post of a photo of the two of them in costume. “Tonight we made #blackhistory with @gifted2sing playing Princess Anna in Frozen! I am so blown away by the professionalism and talent of this company! Wow! #wakandaforever CONGRATS AISHA!!!!!! #frozen#blackbroadway #kristanna.”
Jackson also shared the news on her Instagram and posted another message after the show, writing, “Last night was simply amazing. The love and support from my cast, crew, orchestra, management, producers, agents, family, and friends was, and still is, overwhelming. Y’all know how to make a girl feel special. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I dedicated last night’s show to my two angels, Vaughn and Amy! And to all the little chocolate princesses that don’t always get to see themselves onstage. I hope I made you all proud!!”
A shorter version of Frozen is on stage at the Hyperion Theater at Disney’s California Adventure and that has also proved a major space for inclusivity. Jackson’s appearance still marks a victory for representation on Broadway where opportunities for people of color are still few and far between compared to those for their white counterparts.