Ariana DeBose

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Ariana DeBose
DeBose in 2022
Born (1991-01-25) January 25, 1991 (age 33)
Occupations
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active2009–present
AwardsFull list
Websitearianadebose.com

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

DeBose was a contestant on the sixth season of So You Think You Can Dance in 2009, where she finished in the top 20. She 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 was one of the original ensemble members 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. She has also hosted the Tony Awards in 2022 and 2023.

DeBose has also appeared in the Netflix musical comedy film The Prom (2020) and the Apple TV+ musical comedy series Schmigadoon! (2021–2023). She gained wider recognition for her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg's musical film West Side Story (2021), winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She provided the voice of Asha in the Walt Disney Animation Studios film Wish (2023).

Early life[edit]

DeBose was born on January 25, 1991, in Wilmington, North Carolina. Her mother, Gina DeBose, is an eighth-grade teacher. [3] DeBose trained in dance at CC & Co. Dance Complex in Raleigh.[4] DeBose has stated that her father is Puerto Rican and her mother is White. She also has African-American and Italian ancestry.[5]

Career[edit]

Early work and Broadway roles (2009–2016)[edit]

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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[7] 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.[7] 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.[8]

Breakthrough (2017–2022)[edit]

In late 2017, DeBose was cast in 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.[9] Despite mixed reviews she was nominated for the 2018 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.[10] In 2018, she starred in the film Seaside directed by Sam Zalutsky.

DeBose played Alyssa Greene in the film adaptation of The Prom, directed by Ryan Murphy, where she was opposite of Jo Ellen Pellman as Emma Nolan.[11] 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.[12] In 2021, DeBose played schoolmarm Emma Tate in season 1 the parody musical comedy series Schmigadoon! on Apple TV+.[13] In season 2 of Schmigadoon! in 2023, she played the role of Emcee.[14]

Debose in 2022

Despite not seeing herself playing the role and initially refusing four times to audition for it,[15] 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.[16] DeBose received critical attention for her performance of Anita,[17][18] 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."[19] 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."[20] 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,[21] and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.[22][23]

Following her West Side Story success, it was announced that DeBose would host the 75th Tony Awards.[24] DeBose called the opportunity to host "a bucket list moment" that "I didn't know I had."[25] She received generally positive reviews for the show and received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Special (Live).[26][27] She also made a recurring appearance in the fourth season of the HBO science fiction series Westworld.[28]

2023–present[edit]

DeBose went viral on Twitter after performing at the 76th British Academy Film Awards, where she celebrated the female nominees by name in an original freestyle rap performance. Despite being described by Variety as “a little out of breath at some points” and that the lyrics "felt clumsy", show producer Nick Bullen defended the performance, claiming it was well-received by the live audience and that the criticism was "incredibly unfair" and he "absolutely loved it".[29][30] The rap went viral with lines like "Angela Bassett did the thing" becoming pop culture memes.[31][32] DeBose has subsequently performed the rap in concert.[33] DeBose voiced the lead character of Asha in the 2023 Disney animated film Wish.[34] She had a starring role in the science-fiction thriller I.S.S.[35][36] and a supporting role in the spy film Argylle (both 2024).[37]

DeBose will next appear in the superhero film Kraven the Hunter, directed by J.C. Chandor,[38] and With Love.[39]

Personal life[edit]

DeBose is lesbian[40] and came out to her grandparents in 2015.[41] 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.[42]

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.[43] Previously, DeBose was in a romantic relationship with theater props master Jill Johnson. The pair met while both were working on Motown: The Musical.[44]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2011 Company Ensemble
2020 Hamilton Ensemble / The Bullet / Martha
The Prom Alyssa Greene
2021 West Side Story Anita
2023 Once Upon a Studio Asha Voice role; Short film
I.S.S. Kira Foster
Poolman April Dudley
Wish Asha Voice role
2024 Argylle Keira
Kraven the Hunter Calypso Post-production[45]
2025 With Love TBA Post-production
TBA House of Spoils Post-production
Tow Filming

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2009 So You Think You Can Dance Herself Season 6; Contestant
2016 Blue Bloods Sophia Ortiz Episode: "The Road to Hell"
Hamilton's America Herself TV documentary
2021–2023 Schmigadoon! Emma Tate / Emcee Main role, 9 episodes
2022 Saturday Night Live Herself (host) Episode: "Ariana DeBose/Bleachers"
Human Resources Danielle Voice role; Episode: "Rutgers is for Lovers"
75th Tony Awards Host TV special
Westworld Maya Recurring role, 5 episodes
Bubble Guppies Lulu Voice role; Episode: "A Big Splash!"
2023 76th Tony Awards Host TV special
2024 Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock Mezzo Voice role; Episode: "The Great Wind"[46][47]
77th Tony Awards Host TV special[48]

Theater[edit]

Year Title Role Theatre
2011 Hairspray Little Inez North Carolina Theatre
Bring It On Nautica, u/s Danielle Alliance Theatre, Atlanta
Company Ensemble Avery Fisher Hall, New York City
Bring It On Nautica, u/s Danielle National Tour
2012 St. James Theatre, Broadway
2013 Motown: The Musical Ensemble, Mary Wilson, u/s Diana Ross Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, Broadway
2014 Pippin Leading Player (u/s, then replacement) Music Box Theatre, Broadway
2015 Hamilton Ensemble / Martha / The Bullet The Public Theater, Off-Broadway
Les Misérables Éponine Connecticut Repertory Theatre
Hamilton Ensemble / Martha / The Bullet Richard Rodgers Theatre, Broadway
2016 A Bronx Tale Jane Longacre Theatre, Broadway
2017 Summer: The Donna Summer Musical Disco Donna La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego
2018 Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, Broadway
2023 Ariana DeBose In Concert Herself London Palladium, UK
Lincoln Center, New York City

Awards and nominations[edit]

In 2018, her performance in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical earned her a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. For playing Anita in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story (2021), she won the Academy Award, BAFTA, Critics' Choice, Golden Globe and SAG Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her Oscar win made her the first Afro-Latina and first openly queer woman of color to win an Academy Award for acting. Additionally, with her win following Rita Moreno's 1962 win in the same category for West Side Story (1961), made DeBose and Moreno the third pair of actors to win an Academy Award for playing the same character in different films.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  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. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Bio". ArianaDeBose.com. Archived from the original on October 5, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  5. ^ 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, but I'm also part-Italian.
  6. ^ "Ariana DeBose". IMDb. Archived from the original on June 13, 2022. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Ariana DeBose". Playbill. Archived from the original on September 24, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  8. ^ "Ariana DeBose". Internet Broadway Database. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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.
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  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ Apple TV+. "Schmigadoon!". Apple TV+. Archived from the original on June 26, 2021. Retrieved June 27, 2021.
  14. ^ Harms, Talaura; Culwell-Block, Logan (April 5, 2023). "Murder, Hippies, and Fosse: What Happened in the First 2 Episodes of Schmigadoon! Season 2, Schmicago?". Playbill. Retrieved April 5, 2023.
  15. ^ 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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  20. ^ "'West Side Story' Is Classic Spielberg, Classic Moviemaking — Just Classic, Period". Rolling Stone. December 23, 2021. Archived from the original on December 23, 2021. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  21. ^ "'West Side Story' Star Ariana DeBose Wins First SAG Award for Supporting Role". The Hollywood Reporter. February 28, 2022. Archived from the original on February 28, 2022. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
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  23. ^ "Ariana DeBose makes history as the first queer actor of color to win an Oscar". CBS News. March 27, 2022. Archived from the original on June 17, 2022. Retrieved June 17, 2022.
  24. ^ Team BWW (May 4, 2022). "Ariana DeBose Will Host the 2022 Tony Awards". Broadway World. Archived from the original on May 12, 2022. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  25. ^ Paige Strout (June 13, 2022). "Ariana DeBose Calls Hosting the Tony Awards "A Bucket List Moment"". E! News. Archived from the original on June 13, 2022. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
  26. ^ Greg Evans (June 12, 2022). "Tony Awards Review: The Highlights, Some Lowlights & All Praise For The Unstoppable Ariana DeBose". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on June 13, 2022. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
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  28. ^ "'Westworld' Adds Ariana DeBose For Season 4 – First Look Photo". May 10, 2022. Archived from the original on May 10, 2022. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  29. ^ Ravindran, Manori (February 20, 2023). "In Defense of Ariana DeBose's Rap: BAFTA Producer Slams Twitter Criticism as 'Incredibly Unfair,' Claims 'Everybody Loved It' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. PMC. Archived from the original on February 20, 2023. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
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  31. ^ "Oscar nominee Angela Bassett did the Thing". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 12, 2023.
  32. ^ "Angela Bassett and Ariana DeBose did the thing: Stars embrace a week of internet infamy". BBC News. Retrieved April 12, 2022.
  33. ^ Gardner, Chris (April 7, 2023). "Ariana DeBose Revives, Capitalizes on Infamous BAFTA Rap for 'Authenticity' Concerts". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 11, 2023.
  34. ^ "Ariana DeBose lead Disney's 'Wish,' Inspired by the Iconic Wishing Star". September 10, 2022. Archived from the original on January 21, 2023. Retrieved January 21, 2023.
  35. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (February 1, 2021). "'The Prom' & 'West Side Story' Star Ariana DeBose Joins Space Thriller 'ISS'". Deadline. Archived from the original on February 1, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  36. ^ Gans, Andrew (February 1, 2021). "Ariana DeBose Lands Role in Space Thriller ISS". Playbill. Archived from the original on February 1, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  37. ^ Kit, Borys (September 30, 2021). "Ariana DeBose Joins Henry Cavill in Matthew Vaughn's 'Argylle'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 16, 2021. Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  38. ^ Kroll, Justin (March 1, 2022). "'Kraven The Hunter': Oscar Nominee Ariana DeBose To Play Calypso In Sony's Marvel Pic". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 22, 2022. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  39. ^ "Ke Huy Quan Set For Uni Actioner 'With Love' From 87North". Deadline. January 4, 2024.
  40. ^ Pierre, Mekishana (December 11, 2020). "Ariana DeBose Explains Why Having Queer Leads Makes The Prom So Special". PopSugar. Archived from the original on January 24, 2022. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  41. ^ Voss, Brandon (May 31, 2018). "Ariana DeBose on Playing and Forgiving Donna Summer: 'Legends Make Mistakes, Too'". NewNowNext. Archived from the original on December 25, 2021. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  42. ^ Meyer, Dan (December 14, 2020). "The Prom Stars Ariana DeBose and Jo Ellen Pellman Launch Unruly Hearts Initiative". Playbill. Archived from the original on December 25, 2021. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  43. ^ Nelson, Alex (March 28, 2022). "Ariana DeBose: who is 'openly queer' West Side Story actress and 2022 Oscar winner - and partner Sue Makkoo". National World. Archived from the original on March 29, 2022. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  44. ^ Spaner, Whitney (October 6, 2015). "This Hamilton Star and Her Girlfriend on Making Time for Date Night While in Broadway's Hottest Show". Playbill. Archived from the original on March 28, 2022. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  45. ^ Dick, Jeremy (March 20, 2022). "Sony's Kraven the Hunter Movie Starts Filming, First Set Footage Revealed". MovieWeb. Archived from the original on March 20, 2022. Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  46. ^ Petski, Denise (December 12, 2022). "'Fraggle Rock: Back To The Rock' Renewed For Season 2 At Apple With Daveed Diggs, Ariana DeBose, Brett Goldstein & Catherine O'Hara". Deadline. Retrieved March 29, 2024.
  47. ^ "You are being redirected..." www.animationmagazine.net. Retrieved March 29, 2024.
  48. ^ Huston, Caitlan (March 27, 2024). "Ariana DeBose Returns to Host 2024 Tony Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 27, 2024.

External links[edit]