Ariana DeBose Opens With Broadway Hits Mashup

She’s back on Broadway! Ariana DeBoseShe started acting on the Great White Way and has since been a huge movie star. — Even winning an Oscar. Now, she’s returning to her theatrical roots as the host of the 75th annual Tony Awards.

DeBose, 31, donned an all-white gown while opening the Sunday, Juni 12 awards show. The So You Think You Can DanceAlum even gave a shout out to Lin-Manuel MirandaShe starred with, who she also starred in the original cast Hamilton, and sang West Side Story‘s “Somewhere” as footage from past Tony Awards played on a screen behind her. The 2021 film adaptation features the ballad performed by Rita MorenoAnita was played by, in the original 1961 movie.

The American Theatre Wing announced last month the opening of the American Theatre Wing. West Side Story actress — who won Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG Award trophies for her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s 2021 remake of the musical — would emcee the ceremony honoring Broadway’s brightest stars of the year.

Ariana DeBose performs for the 75th Tony Awards.
Charles Sykes/AP/Shutterstock

“After the challenging last two years, there is no one better to bring the theater community together on this important night honoring the best of Broadway and share the joys of live performing once again than this extraordinarily talented artist,” CBS executive Jack SussmanIn a statement, he stated that at the time.

DeBose — who joins the ranks of past hosts including Neil Patrick Harris, James Corden, Sara Bareilles, Josh GrobanAnd Leslie Odom Jr. — had been eagerly gearing up for her hosting debut.

“Ran into these two at rehearsal today. They’re cookin up something good for the @thetonyawards pre-show,” she gushed via Instagram earlier this week, sharing a snap with Tony Awards pre-show hosts Darren CrissAnd Julianne Hough.

Sunday’s ceremony marks the first time since the coronavirus pandemic shutdown that the awards show returns to Radio City Music Hall. (Last year’s show was broadcast from the Winter Garden Theatre.)

“This is the first time we’re back at Radio City. The community is still coming out of what has been an extremely challenging time,” the Prom The actress said The New York Times Interview published on Thursday, June 9 “I do look at this as an opportunity to try and provide a real moment of celebration because I think it’s a gosh-darn feat and a triumph to have been able to make work at all and get to this moment in time.”

She added: “I would like to throw up, if I’m honest. But I love a challenge. And I just feel like whatever we do is going to be fun.”

DeBose, a Tony Award nominee, was awarded a Best Features Actress in Musical nod for her performance as Donna Summer. Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. However, the North Carolina native lost the category. Lindsay Mendez — who won for her role in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel — she was humbled by the recognition.

“From start to finish, the Tonys were a whirlwind,” the North Carolina native told PopMatters in August 2018. “You’re put on a different level for a moment in time that allows you to talk about things that are important to you. I was able talk about LGBTQ rights, how it feels to be biracial, and why it was so important to me to be nominated in this particular season. It gave us visibility.”

DeBose — who made her Broadway debut in 2012’s Bring It On, The Musical — has also appeared on stage in Motown the MusicalPippinHamilton, An American Musical And A Bronx Tale: The Musical.

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