Ariana DeBose
Ariana Debose during an interview, March 2022.jpg
DeBose in March 2022
Born (1991-01-25) January 25, 1991 (age 31)
EducationWestern Carolina University
Occupation
  • Actress
  • dancer
  • singer
Years active2009–present
AwardsFull list
Websitewww.arianadebose.com

Ariana DeBose (/ˌɑːriˈɑːnə dəˈbz/;[1] born January 25, 1991) is an American actress, dancer, and singer. She has received multiple accolades, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Golden Globe Award and a nomination for a Tony Award. In 2022, Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world.[2]

DeBose made her television debut competing on the sixth season of So You Think You Can Dance in 2009, where she finished in the top 20. She then made her Broadway debut in Bring It On: The Musical in 2011 and continued her work on Broadway with roles in Motown: The Musical (2013) and Pippin (2014). From 2015 to 2016, she originated the role of The Bullet in Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical Hamilton, and appeared as Jane in A Bronx Tale (2016–2017). In 2018, she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as Disco Donna in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. In 2022, she hosted the 75th Tony Awards.

DeBose appeared in the Netflix musical film The Prom (2020) and the Apple TV+ musical comedy series Schmigadoon! (2021), before gaining widespread recognition for her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg's musical West Side Story (2021). For her performance, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her the first queer woman of color to receive an Oscar in an acting category.[3][4]

Early life

DeBose was born on January 25, 1991, in Wilmington, North Carolina. Her mother, Gina DeBose, is an eighth grade teacher.[5] DeBose trained in dance at CC & Co. Dance Complex in Raleigh.[6] DeBose has stated that her father is Puerto Rican and her mother is white, and that she has South African-American ancestry and Italian ancestry.[7]

Career

Early work and Broadway roles (2009–2016)

DeBose made her television debut in 2009, when she competed on the TV series So You Think You Can Dance, making it into the Top 20.[8] She later appeared on the soap opera One Life to Live and played Inez in the North Carolina Theatre's production of Hairspray before appearing in the role of Nautica in the 2011 Alliance Theatre production of Bring It On. She also appeared in the ensemble of the New York Philharmonic production of Company, which was filmed for television.[9] At the end of 2011, Bring It On embarked on a national tour across the United States. DeBose continued her role into the 2012 Broadway production and understudied the character Danielle.

In 2013, DeBose played Mary Wilson in Motown on Broadway, understudying the role of Diana Ross.[9] She later joined the cast of Pippin on Broadway, playing a noble and a player and understudying the role of the Leading Player, which she ended up taking over for a short period in 2014.[9] She can be heard playing director/choreographer Zoey Taylor in As the Curtain Rises, an original Broadway soap opera podcast from the Broadway Podcast Network.

In 2015, DeBose left Pippin to join the ensemble of the off-Broadway musical Hamilton. The show moved to Broadway later that year. She left Hamilton in July 2016 and made a guest appearance on the TV series Blue Bloods as Sophia Ortiz. She also starred as Daphne in the thriller film Seaside. From November 2016 to August 2017, DeBose portrayed Jane on Broadway in A Bronx Tale.[10]

Breakthrough and critical success (2017–present)

In late 2017, DeBose received her breakthrough role, playing Disco Donna in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical at San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse. She reprised this role in the Broadway production, which opened in April 2018.[11] She was nominated for the 2018 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.[12]

DeBose played Alyssa Greene in the film adaptation of The Prom, directed by Ryan Murphy.[citation needed] In March 2021, DeBose released a dance-pop recording and video of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Shall We Dance" for the album R&H Goes Pop, produced by Justin Goldner and arranged by Benjamin Rauhala.[13] In 2021, DeBose played Emma Tate in the parody musical comedy series Schmigadoon! on Apple TV+.[14] She will also star in the spy film Argylle for the service.[15]

Despite initially not seeing herself playing the role and refusing to audition for it,[16] DeBose played Anita in the 2021 film adaptation of the musical West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg. The film was released in December 2021 to critical acclaim.[17] DeBose herself received critical attention for her performance of Anita,[18][19] with Caryn James of BBC praising her performance, declaring, "Anita, in a layered, dynamic performance by Ariana DeBose, is the centre of attention, swirling her skirt and dancing to the Latin rhythms that infuse the film."[20] David Fear of Rolling Stone wrote, "DeBose...strong contender for Most Valuable Player here, whose energy—in her singing, her dancing, her line-reading, her side-eyeing—could power a metropolitan block."[21] She also received multiple accolades, including a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, a Critics' Choice Movie Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award, making her the first Afro-Latina and queer woman of color to win the latter award,[22] and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Following her West Side Story success, it was announced that DeBose would host the 75th Tony Awards.[23] DeBose called the opportunity to host "a bucket list moment" that "I didn't know I had."[24] She received generally positive reviews for the show.[25][26]

DeBose will next star in the upcoming science-fiction thriller I.S.S..[27][28] She will also appear in the upcoming superhero film Kraven the Hunter, directed by J.C. Chandor.[29] She will also make a recurring appearance in the fourth season of the HBO science fiction series Westworld.[30]

Personal life

DeBose identifies as queer[31] and came out to her grandparents in 2015.[32]

In December 2020, DeBose and Jo Ellen Pellman launched the Unruly Hearts Initiative. The initiative was created to help young people connect with organizations and charities that advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.[33]

DeBose is in a relationship with costume designer and professor Sue Makkoo. The pair met while working on Summer: The Donna Summer Musical in 2017.[34] Previously, DeBose was in a romantic relationship with theater props master Jill Johnson. The pair met while both were working on the musical Motown: The Musical.[35]

Filmography

Film

Key
Films that have not yet been released Denotes productions that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Notes
2011 Company Ensemble
2018 Seaside Daphne
2020 Hamilton Ensemble/The Bullet
The Prom Alyssa Greene
2021 West Side Story Anita
2023 Kraven the Hunter Film has yet to be released Mariah "Calypso" Crawford Post-production[36]
Wish Film has yet to be released Asha (voice) In production
TBA I.S.S. Film has yet to be released Kira Foster Post-production
Argylle Film has yet to be released Post-production
Poolman Film has yet to be released Filming[37]
House of Spoils Film has yet to be released Pre-production[38]

Television

Year Title Role Notes
2009 So You Think You Can Dance Herself Season 6; Contestant
2016 Blue Bloods Sophia Ortiz 1 episode
Hamilton's America Herself TV documentary
2021 Schmigadoon! Emma Tate Main role, 6 episodes
2022 Saturday Night Live Herself (host) Episode: "Ariana DeBose/Bleachers"
Human Resources Danielle (voice) 1 episode
Westworld Maya Recurring role, 6 episodes

Theater

Year Title Role Theatre
2011 Hairspray Little Inez North Carolina Theatre
Bring It On Nautica, u/s Danielle Alliance Theatre
Company Ensemble Avery Fisher Hall
Bring It On Nautica, u/s Danielle National Tour
2012 Bring It On Nautica, u/s Danielle St. James Theatre
2013 Motown: The Musical Ensemble, Mary Wilson, u/s Diana Ross Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
2014 Pippin Leading Player (u/s, then replacement) Music Box Theatre
2015 Hamilton Ensemble/The Bullet The Public Theater
Les Misérables Éponine Connecticut Repertory Theatre
Hamilton Ensemble Richard Rodgers Theatre
2016 A Bronx Tale Jane Longacre Theatre
2017 Summer: The Donna Summer Musical Disco Donna La Jolla Playhouse
2018 Summer: The Donna Summer Musical Disco Donna Lunt-Fontanne Theatre

Awards and nominations

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Ariana DeBose

References

  1. ^ "The "West Side Story" Cast Finds Out Which Characters They Really Are". BuzzFeed Celeb. December 13, 2021. Archived from the original on February 7, 2022. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  2. ^ "Ariana DeBose Is on the 2022 TIME 100 List". Time. May 23, 2022. Archived from the original on May 31, 2022. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  3. ^ "Ariana DeBose makes history as first Afro Latina, openly queer actor of color to win Oscar". NBC News. Retrieved June 17, 2022.
  4. ^ "Ariana DeBose makes history as the first queer actor of color to win an Oscar". CBS News. Retrieved June 17, 2022.
  5. ^ Menconi, David (June 8, 2018). "After 'Hamilton,' NC native is up for a Tony for portraying disco queen Donna Summer". News & Observer. Archived from the original on December 13, 2021.
  6. ^ "Bio". ArianaDeBose.com. Archived from the original on October 5, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  7. ^ Button, Simon (October 22, 2018). "The star of Donna Summer's musical on speaking up for queer women of colour". GAY TIMES. Archived from the original on April 15, 2019. Retrieved October 18, 2020. my father was Puerto Rican, so I don't identify with any specific ethnicity either ... I do have African-American lineage.
  8. ^ "Ariana DeBose". IMDb. Archived from the original on June 13, 2022. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c "Ariana DeBose". Playbill. Archived from the original on September 24, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  10. ^ "Ariana DeBose". Internet Broadway Database. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  11. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (February 2, 2018). "LaChanze, Ariana DeBose & Storm Lever Will Lead Summer: The Donna Summer Musical to Broadway". Broadway.com. Archived from the original on October 25, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  12. ^ Cox, Gordon (May 1, 2018). "Tony Nominations 2018: 'Mean Girls,' 'SpongeBob' Score Big (Complete List)". Variety.com. Archived from the original on May 2, 2018. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  13. ^ "VIDEO: Ariana DeBose Sings Reimagined 'Shall We Dance?' For R&H Goes Pop!". BroadwayWorld. March 24, 2021. Archived from the original on March 25, 2021. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  14. ^ Apple TV+. "Schmigadoon!". Apple TV+. Archived from the original on June 26, 2021. Retrieved June 27, 2021.
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  16. ^ Tangkay, Jazz (January 21, 2022). "Ariana DeBose Turned Down 'West Side Story' Audition Four Times, Says Casting Director Cindy Tolan". Variety. Archived from the original on January 22, 2022. Retrieved January 23, 2022.
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