Transparent star Alexandra Billings is breaking Broadway barriers and joining Wicked, becoming the first trans actress to be in its cast. Her first performance as Madame Morrible is set for Jan. 20, and she will take over for Nancy Opel in the role.
Billings confirmed the news on her Instagram, adding that “I literally cannot believe my life, I am truly blessed, and completely shocked.”
“There’s never been a trans person in this show before,” Billings told Variety. “So all of these kids, and their parents and their grandmothers and their aunts and uncles seeing this show… sometime on the way home, somebody’s going to have to have a conversation. And that’s enormous. Whatever the conversation is, however it turns out, the fact that it’s happening is life-changing.”
The news comes after Pose star Mj Rodriguez became the first trans actress to play the cis character Audrey in a main stage production of Little Shop of Horrors. The show, which opened Wednesday at the Pasadena Playhouse in California, runs through Oct. 20.
Last year also saw great strides for transgender actors on Broadway. In June 2018, three trans performers simultaneously made their debuts on the big stage, included RuPaul’s Drag Race favorite Peppermint, who became the first trans woman to originate a principal role on Broadway in the musical Head Over Heels.
Billings stars on Transparent, playing Davina, an educator at an LGBT center. She will appear in the much-anticipated series musical finale that debuts Friday.