In a Broadway guest-filled evening, Denée Benton also stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert December 12. The actor recently made her Broadway debut in the title role of the acclaimed Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. Marking the actor’s talk-show debut, Colbert began by asking Benton about other firsts.
“The first musical I saw on Broadway was Wicked,” she said. “I listened to it everywhere we went, and my mom ‘accidentally’ sat on it and broke it at one point, the CD. It’s still a conspiracy at home.” Benton admitted to being “that girl” in the audience who sang along the whole time.
On a more serious note, Colbert brought up Benton’s casting as an African-American actor playing a woman of Russian nobility in 1812. “I feel like now, especially in our current social climate, it’s really incredible to have stories where people are being able to tell their stories based on their essences,” she said. “And me being a dark-skinned woman with natural hair being the center of this love story — growing up I didn’t see that.”
She recalled meeting a young black woman after the show who said that Benton looked like a princess up there and that she didn’t know “we could be princesses.” “Artists and people in entertainment, we have such incredible power to remind people of their worth and help people dream big,” she said.
She also talked about the historical significance of the the comet mentioned in the title and the classic story the production draws upon. Before saying goodnight, Benton said goodbye with Colbert the way she always imagined she would when she dreamed of appearing on a talk show.