Anika Noni Rose
Rose at the 69th annual Peabody Awards in 2010
Born (1972-09-06) September 6, 1972 (age 51)
EducationFlorida A&M University (BA)
American Conservatory Theater (MFA)
OccupationActress
Years active1998–present
Spouse
Jason Dirden
(m. 2022)

Anika Noni Rose (born September 6, 1972) is an American actress. She is best known for voicing Tiana, Disney's first African-American princess, in The Princess and the Frog (2009). She was named a Disney Legend in 2011.

Rose starred as Lorrell Robinson in the Academy Award-winning film Dreamgirls (2006). Her contribution to the film's soundtrack earned her a nomination for a Grammy Award.[1] She is also known for her performances in theatre, particularly for starring as Emmie Thibodeaux in the Broadway production of Caroline, or Change (2004), for which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, and Beneatha Younger in the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun (2014), for which she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.

Early life and education

Rose was born in Bloomfield, Connecticut, to Claudia and John Rose, a corporate counsel.[2] She attended Bloomfield High School, appearing in a school production during her freshman year. She earned a bachelor's degree in theatre from Florida A&M University,[3] then studied drama at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

Career

Early career

Rose moved to New York without a job. After three months, she played the role of Rusty in Broadway's Footloose. She followed Footloose with numerous workshops and two musicals using pre-existing song catalogs, Eli's Comin' Off-Broadway[4] and Me and Mrs. Jones with Lou Rawls in Philadelphia. Both of the full-scale tuners[N 1] were rumored for transfers, but neither made it anywhere after their limited engagements ended. Rose's big Broadway break was getting cast as Emmie Thibodeaux in Caroline, or Change. In 2004, she was awarded the Theatre World Award, the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actress, and the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Caroline, or Change.

After her film debut, King of the Bingo Game, she played the role of Kaya in From Justin to Kelly in 2003 and performed in Temptation in 2004, followed by Surviving Christmas as a singer in the choir. In 2006, Rose starred in Dreamgirls as Lorrell Robinson with Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, and Eddie Murphy. Rose appeared in the films Just Add Water and Razor.

Rose also starred alongside Jill Scott in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency directed by Anthony Minghella.[6]

The Princess and the Frog

Rose is best known for her role in Disney's 2009 animated feature The Princess and the Frog as the voice of the lead character Tiana, the character is Disney's first African-American princess. Rose said at the time, "Not only is [Tiana] the first black princess, but she's also the first American princess. So, the scope and the significance is larger than people even realize."[7] Rose added that she hoped her role in the film would help affirm young brown-skinned children by seeing someone who looks like them in a Disney film. The film being released in 2009, the same year that Barack Obama and Michelle Obama entered the White House was completely coincidental, according to the creators. But several commentators noted how the coincidence reinforced the positive portrayal of African-Americans.[8][9]

Rose hosted a hometown screening of The Princess and the Frog for children from the Charter Oak Cultural Center, a non-profit multi-cultural arts center that provides free after-school programs in Hartford, Connecticut.[10] Rose's performance in the film garnered one nomination for an NAACP Image Award and three nominations for the Black Reel Awards. She won the Black Reel Award for Best Outstanding Voice Performance.[11]

Rose was named a Disney Legend on August 19, 2011.[12] Rose said, "I always dreamed of being a voice in a Disney movie, but even in those dreams, I never once dreamed of being a princess... I feel like what an honor that this is and how the dream comes true, bigger and stronger than I had even imagined it."[13]

Tiana's Bayou Adventure (2024)

In June 2020, Disney announced that they would be reworking their flume ride Splash Mountain in their U.S. theme parks with characters from The Princess and the Frog. Rose said, "It's thrilling. People are amped and ready. I think it's awesome, particularly now, to be reinvigorating her story." Disney has stated that the ride will take place after the events of the film, during Carnival season.[14] Rose also added that she would love for Disney to create a Tiana's Palace Restaurant at the theme parks. "I've been looking forward to a Tiana's Palace for years... I have dreams of them partnering with [New Orleans'] Café du Monde on some real deal beignets, having some fantastic shrimp and grits and king cake during Mardi Gras season. And the occasional second line through the joint. Basically all the things I love!"[15][16][17] In June 2022, Rose mentioned that she has been involved with discussions with Disney on what they want the ride to be like.[18] In July 2022, Disney announced that the ride will be called Tiana's Bayou Adventure and will open in Disneyland and Magic Kingdom in late 2024.[19] In September 2022, it was confirmed that Rose would reprise her role as Tiana for the ride.[20] In January 2023, it was announced that Disneyland would convert its French Market Restaurant in the New Orleans Square section of the park into a Tiana's Palace restaurant.[21] Tiana's Palace opened in September 2023.[22]

2010s

Rose the 2010 Academy Awards

In 2010, Rose played the role of Yasmine in the movie For Colored Girls directed by Tyler Perry and co-starring Phylicia Rashad and Janet Jackson. One critic described Rose's performance as "especially fierce".[23] From 2010 to 2013, Rose had a guest-starring role in the legal TV drama The Good Wife. She played the role of Sara Tidwell in the A&E miniseries Bag of Bones in 2011, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name.[24]

In 2012, she guest-starred in the "Gone Abie Gone" episode in season 24 of The Simpsons, voicing Abe Simpson's second wife, Rita LaFleur.

In 2014, Rose returned to Broadway in a revival of A Raisin in the Sun, receiving a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.[25]

Rose played the adult Kizzy in two episodes of television's Roots, an adaptation of the novel by Alex Haley and remake of the 1977 miniseries. Critic Alan Sepinwall, in suggesting Emmy nominees to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, called her "one of the best parts of the outstanding Roots ensemble".[26] She had a role in the Starz series Power[27] and the leading role in the 2017 BET drama The Quad.[28] In 2019, a star was named after Rose through the International Star Registry.[3]

2020s

During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown of 2020, Rose created a weekly series, Bedtime Stories for the Littles, where she read bedtime stories to small children to help ease their fear during the lockdown. Rose said, "I love reading to kids, and I wanted to give our little people something soft and soothing in this very jarring moment in time. I thought a bedtime story would be the perfect way. I can give my voice to the ones who know it best, without anyone leaving home."[29] She also said that she wanted to help children act silly, use their imaginations, and find a love of books that Rose said she had as a child.[30][31] As one of the stories in the series, Rose chose the Princess and the Frog book "Tiana's Growing Experiment."[32]

In 2020, Rose starred in the Netflix musical Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey playing Jessica Jangle.[33] Rose applauded the film's portrayal of black and brown professionals in an English Victorian setting.[34]

In 2021, she played an affluent, unhappy lawyer who employs a young mother fleeing an abusive relationship in the Netflix limited series Maid. In 2024 she portrayed Elena in the Lincoln Center Theatre revival of the Anton Chekov play Uncle Vanya at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre.[35]

In 2024, Rose worked in season two of SuperKitties where she voiced Cat Burglar's country cousin Sassy.[36]

Personal life

Rose married actor Jason Dirden in October 2022. The wedding, which was officiated by Colman Domingo, took place at the Paramour Estate in Los Angeles. The couple kept their nuptials a secret before announcing they were married in Brides magazine on January 16, 2023.[37][38]

Acting credits

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1999 King of the Bingo Game Film Noir Female Short film
2003 From Justin to Kelly Kaya
2004 Temptation Fog
Surviving Christmas Choir
2006 Dreamgirls Lorrell Maya Robinson
2008 Just Add Water R'ch'lle
2009 The Princess and the Frog Tiana (voice)
2010 For Colored Girls Yasmine
2011 Company Marta
2012 Skyler Therapist
2013 As Cool as I Am Frances
Khumba Lungisa (voice)
Half of a Yellow Sun Kainene Drama/Romance
2014 Imperial Dreams Miss Price Drama
2016 Throne of Elves Meyla (voice) Animation/Advention/Fantasy

Also starring G.K Bowes

Grace for President Narrator Video short
2017 Vixen Kuasa (voice) Video
Everything, Everything Dr. Pauline Whittier Drama/Romance
2018 Assassination Nation Nance Action/Comedy/Crime
Ralph Breaks the Internet Tiana (voice) Animation/Adventure/Comedy
2020 Body Cam Taneesha Branz Horror/Mystery/Thriller
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey Jessica Jangle [39]
2021 The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain Candace Wade
Injustice Selina Kyle / Catwoman (voice) Animation/Action/Adventure
2023 Once Upon a Studio Tiana (voice) Short film
Outlaw Johnny Black Jessie Lee Action/Comedy/Western
2024 Mufasa: The Lion King Afia (voice) In production

Television

Year Title Role Notes
2001 100 Centre Street Woman Episode: "Domestic Abuses"
2002 Third Watch Monay Episode: "Thicker Than Water"
2003 Hack Episode: "Hidden Agenda"
2007 The Starter Wife Lavender Main cast
2008–09 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Grace Makutsi Main cast
2010–13 The Good Wife Wendy Scott-Carr Recurring role (season 2–3), guest (season 4)
2011 LA Phil Live Juliet Episode: "Dudamel Conducts Tchaikovsky"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Miriam Deng Episode: "Scorched Earth"
Have a Little Faith Annette TV film
Bag of Bones Sara Tidwell Episode: "Part 1 & 2"
2012 Private Practice Corinne Bennett Recurring role (season 5)
Elementary Dr. Carrie Dwyer Episode: "Lesser Evils"
The Simpsons Rita LaFleur (voice) Episode: "Gone Abie Gone"
2013 The Watsons Go to Birmingham Wilona Sands Watson TV film
2014 A Day Late and a Dollar Short Paris Price TV film
Sofia the First Princess Tiana (voice) Episode: "Winter's Gift"
2015 For Justice Natalia Chapin TV film
2015–16 Bates Motel Liz Babbitt Recurring role (season 34)
2015–16 Vixen Kuasa (voice) Main role
2016 Roots Kizzy Waller Episode: "Part 3 & 4"
2016–17 Power LaVerne "Jukebox" Ganner Recurring role (season 3–4)
2017 Voltron: Legendary Defender Acxa (voice) 2 episodes; role recast with Erica Luttrell
2017–18 The Quad Dr. Eva Fletcher Main cast
2018 American Masters Lorraine Hansberry (voice) Episode: "Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart"
2018–19 Disney Comics in Motion Tiana (voice) 2 episodes
2019 Avengers Assemble Yemandi (voice) Episode: "Yemandi"
Beast Mode Marsha Blackstone TV film
2020 Magical Girl Friendship Squad: Origins Nut (voice) Main cast
Little Fires Everywhere Pauline Hawthorne Episode: "The Spark" & "The Uncanny"
2021 Family Reunion Miss Karen Episode: "Remember Mazzi's First Love?"
Them Ella Mae Johnson Recurring role
Maid Regina Main role
2021–22 Amphibia Dr. Jan (voice) Recurring role (season 3)
2022 Let the Right One In Naomi Cole Main role
Pantheon Various roles Voice; 4 episodes
2023 Lego Disney Princess: The Castle Quest Princess Tiana (voice) TV special
Star Wars: Visions Eureka (voice) Episode: "The Pit"
2024 SuperKitties Cousin Sassy (voice) 2 episodes
2024 Tiana Princess Tiana (voice) Main role

Theatre

Year Title Role Venue Notes
1998 Insurrection: Holding History Katie Lynn American Conservatory Theater San Francisco
Valley Song Veronica Jonkers Berkeley Repertory Theater Berkeley
Hydriotaphia, or the Death of Dr. Browne His Soul Berkeley Repertory Theater Berkeley
1999 Tartuffe Marianne American Conservatory Theater San Francisco
Threepenny Opera Polly Peachum American Conservatory Theater San Francisco
2000 Footloose Rusty Richard Rodgers Theatre Broadway debut; replacement
2001 Carmen Jones Cindy Lou York Theatre Off-Broadway
Eli's Comin' The Woman Vineyard Theatre Off-Broadway
Me and Mrs. Jones Cookie Prince Music Theater Philadelphia
2003 Caroline, or Change Emmie Thibodeaux The Public Theater Off-Broadway
2004 Eugene O'Neill Theatre Broadway
Ahmanson Theatre Los Angeles
2008 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Maggie "The Cat" Broadhurst Theatre Broadway
2011 Company Marta David Geffen Hall New York Philharmonic concert
2013 Hamilton Angelica Schuyler Vassar College Workshop
2014 A Raisin in the Sun Beneatha Younger Ethel Barrymore Theatre Broadway
2018 Carmen Jones Carmen Jones Classic Stage Company Off-Broadway
2024 Uncle Vanya Elena Vivian Beaumont Theatre Broadway

Video games

Year Title Voice role
2011 Kinect Disneyland Adventures Princess Tiana
2012 Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2001 Obie Award Best Performance Eli's Comin' Won
2004 Clarence Derwent Award Best Supporting Female Caroline, or Change Won
Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Featured Actress Won
Theatre World Award Theatre World Award Won
Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Musical Won [40]
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Nominated
2007 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Dreamgirls Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated [41]
2008 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or Movie The Starter Wife Nominated
Grammy Award Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media Dreamgirls Nominated [42]
2009 Satellite Award Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Nominated
2010 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture The Princess and the Frog Nominated
Black Reel Award Outstanding Voice Performance Won
Outstanding Original Song "Down in New Orleans" from The Princess and the Frog Nominated
Outstanding Original Song "Almost There" from The Princess and the Frog Won
2011 Outstanding Ensemble For Colored Girls Won
Outstanding Supporting Actress Nominated
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
Disney Legend Award Animation – Voice The Princess and the Frog Won [43]
2012 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Nominated [44]
2014 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Play A Raisin in the Sun Nominated [45]
2019 Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical Carmen Jones Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated

Notes

  1. ^ "Tuner": theatre parlance introduced by Variety trade newspaper.[5]

References

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  4. ^ Gutman, Les."ACurtainUpReview:Eli's Comin'" Archived September 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Curtain Up.com, based on 5/2/01 performance, accessed September 1, 2011
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