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Monday, March 18, 2024

12-Year-Old Black Actress on Broadway Makes History as Young Nala in ‘The Lion King’

Nia Thompson

Nationwide — Meet Nia Thompson, the 12-year-old star shining on Broadway’s stage as Young Nala in The Lion King. With a passion for the stage that ignited at a young age, her journey from an audience to a leading actress is both inspiring and captivating.

Nia’s love for the stage sparked early on after watching a play with her mother, Gessie.

“I took Nia to see KeKe Palmer in her historic performance as the first Black Disney princess on Broadway in Cinderella. As the curtains closed, she turned to me and said, ‘I’m supposed to be on the stage,'” Gessie told Because of Them We Can.

At just 6 years old, she dreamed of joining a project by the next year. Fuelled by her daughter’s passion, Gessie found her an agent.

The turning point came on her eighth birthday after visiting the Minskoff Theater. A backstage tour, guided by Sharron Lynn Williams, fueled her desire to be part of The Lion King. Fast forward four years and Nia’s dream came true as she made her Broadway debut as Young Nala.

Despite her success, Nia remains grounded. She’s just a regular 12-year-old, juggling school and rehearsals. Her dedication shines through in her punctuality, and commitment to her education and personal growth. She embraces her role, aiming to inspire marginalized communities that Broadway is for everyone.

Nia’s generosity extends beyond the stage. She recently gave a backstage tour to Jordan, a 5-year-old from Chicago, igniting her passion for theater. Nia pays forward the inspiration she received, encouraging others to dream big.

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