Sep 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Openly transgender woman takes a Broadway lead for the first time

Actress Angelica Ross became the first openly transgender woman to star on Broadway when she debuted Monday as Roxie Hart in "Chicago."

Angelica Ross. Photo courtesy of "Chicago."

Angelica Ross, the actress and star of FX's "Pose," made her debut Monday evening as Roxie Hart in the long-running musical "Chicago." In doing so, she became the first openly transgender woman to star on Broadway, per the show's producers.

Why it matters: Ross' groundbreaking role comes amid an unprecedented legislative attack on transgender civil rights in states around the country.

  • Ross and co-star Amra-Faye Wright acknowledged the juxtaposition from the stage at the show's end, telling the audience that their performance comes as many people question the future of America and what the country stands for.

Between the lines: A host of celebrities and members of the LGBTQ community turned up to see Ross' debut, including writer and activist Raquel Willis and the cast of "Strange Loop," another Broadway musical.

What they're saying: "It meant so much," Ross told Axios after the show. "Especially when I looked out into the audience when the lights came up and I saw so much family — so many trans folks, so many non-binary folks."

Go deeper