nikki m. james


women of color in musical theatre

“The more of us there are that are visible, the more commonplace it will become to people, and after a while, people aren’t even going to think twice about it..I play Laura Osnes’s stepsister [in Cinderella], the daughter of Harriet Harris, and the sister of Marla Mindelle, and not one person, not one reviewer, not one human being has ever said to me, ‘How is that possible? You are Asian’, you know. It’s just accepted. And I sort of feel like if we can just get to that place with every show, we wouldn’t have a problem. But, you know, we have to just keep saying, ‘We’re here, we are here.’

- Ann Harada

Tony Awards Moments 2011 1. Nikki M. James’s acceptance speech

“There’s a thing…a story about bumblebees. Physicists couldn’t figure out how they did it, how they flew; and we all know that they do, we’ve seen them do it. They did it because nobody told them they couldn’t and because of sheer will and determination. And I come from a long line of bumblebees.”

I mean, I live in a New York City apartment. It’s small, walk up in Chelsea. Like I don’t have a lot of area, so my Tony is just in my living room on a side table. It’s the only thing on the table. Well there’s a lamp, so it sort of has a spotlight. When I first got it, I moved it around with me, like weirdly, in the apartment. So when I went to sleep I would bring it into my bedroom. I didn’t take it to the bathroom with me because I wasn’t sure what kind of metal it was made of. I didn’t want it to get like rusty from the sweat, you know. And I - you know I would take a lot of pictures of it. And it was really like - it’s the best toy I’ve ever received. And I’m an actress right, a musical theatre performer, my whole life, so I didn’t play sports, I never got a trophy, so this is my first trophy. And it’s a good one.
—  Nikki M. James