I was so excited because I was seeing the first black performer to play Eponine, Shanice. I was completely blown away. I felt like I could have been the only person in the theater as if this story was being told just for me. It was romantic and dangerous and the music was lush and it was everything I ever wanted. It was all that much sweeter because one of those girls looked like me. I could picture myself running through the streets of Paris and fighting on the barricade and now I get to do it for real. That performance is one of the most vivid memories I have or seeing theater as a young hopeful actor and theater lover. I still can’t really believe that I am going be part of this show’s rich history. I just hope that I will be able to give just one young theater-goer the same kind of experience I had when I first saw the show.
—  Nikki M. James

top ten women of 2011 - 8 - nikki m. james

“There’s 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 that they couldn’t because of sheer will and determination. I come from a long line of bumblebees … I am so grateful that nobody ever told me I couldn’t do it, that I couldn’t fly.”