“Pose” star Angelica Ross is set to make her Broadway debut in “Chicago” this fall, becoming the first openly transgender actor to play the murderous vixen Roxie Hart in the long-running musical.
Ross, whose credits also include “American Horror Story: 1984,” will start an eight-week run beginning Sept. 12 at the Ambassador Theatre.
She will join a Broadway starting to open its arms to transgender actors. In 2018, “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” star Peppermint became the first openly trans woman to originate a principal role on Broadway, starring in the Go-Go’s jukebox musical “Head Over Heels.” This spring, L Morgan Lee made history as the first openly transgender person to be nominated and go on to win a Tony Award for her work as a featured actress in the musical “A Strange Loop.”
Set in the 1920s, “Chicago” is a scathing satire of how show business and the media make celebrities out of criminals. It has Bob Fosse-inspired choreography, skimpy outfits and killer songs such as “All That Jazz” and “Cell Block Tango.”
It tells the story of Hart, a housewife and dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to leave her. To avoid conviction, she hires Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to help her dupe the public, media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by creating shocking headlines.
Other principal and featured Broadway actors who have identified as trans include Alexandra Billings in “The Nap,” Becca Blackwell in the play “Is This a Room,” and Kate Bornstein and Ty Defoe in “Straight White Men.”
The celebrity-craving heroine at the heart of “Chicago″ has been played by dozens of women since the show opened in 1996, including Melanie Griffith, Christie Brinkley, Marilu Henner, Brooke Shields, Lisa Rinna, Gretchen Mol, Ashlee Simpson, Brandy Norwood, Jennifer Nettles and Robin Givens. Pamela Anderson made headlines earlier this year when she played Roxie.