A is for Ariana DeBose. Her Broadway journey via videos

Ariana DeBose became a familiar face this year, after winning the Academy Award for her performance as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s revival of “West Side Story,” which was a couple of months before she served as host of “Saturday Night Live” and a couple of months before she served as host of the 75th Tony Awards. But she made her Broadway debut ten years ago, and her theater career has been well-chronicled as the videos below, making her the latest Broadway artist in my Broadway Alphabet Series.

Ariana made her Broadway debut as a character named Nautica in the 2012 production of “Bring It On The Musical” — and got the sort of attention in this two-part video profile in Playbill that freshman rarely get.

Here she is performing (in the green pants) “It’s All Happening”at the 2013 Tonys with the rest of the cast of “Bring It On” (which includes Taylor Louderman and Adrienne Warren)

Ariana performed as Mary Wilson “Motown,” and understudied Diana Ross — which she got the chance to perform:

Ariana was cast in “Pippin,” replacing the Leading Player in 2014. Here she is the following year in a #HAM2HAM, introduced by Lin-Manuel Miranda, singing from “Pippin” along with Phillipa Soo and Andrew Chappelle

Cast in the ensemble in “Hamilton,” she originated the role of The Bullet, which was so notorious that this video goes scene by scene describing it:

She portrayed Jane, Calogero’s love interest, in “The Bronx Tale” opposite Bobby Conte Thornton. Here they are dancing in Penn Station.

Here are excerpts from “A Bronx Tale” on the Today Show. (Her dancing begins around 4:30)

Ariana received a Tony nomination for her role as Disco Donna (the middle of the three Donna Summers) in “Summer,” the bio musical. Here she is performing “Hot Stuff.”

Here she is at the 2018 Tonys with LaChanze and Storm Lever (the other Donna Summers) singing “Last Dance”

Of course, “Summer” wasn’t Ariana’s last dance, although it was the most recent performance on Broadway for this six-time veteran. Here are some recent videos with which you might already be familiar.

“Obviously Broadway has been through a tough couple of years. But we are a community that perseveres. I believe Broadway changes lives. I mean, hey, it changed mine. And Broadway has this magical ability to bring people together.”

“…Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford. Focus. Look into her eyes. You see a queer, an openly queer woman of color and Afro-Latina who found her strength in life through art. And that’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate. So to anybody who has ever questioned your identity, ever, ever, ever, or find yourself living in the grey spaces, I promise you this. There is indeed a place for us….”

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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