By Jay Darcy
Following on from Audra McDonald and Sierra Boggess, Fourth Wall Live is delighted to be welcoming another American songstress to London: Ariana DeBose at the London Palladium, with Musical Director Benjamin Rauhala.
DeBose is best known for winning the 2022 Academy Award, British Academy Film Award (BAFTA), Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award, and Critics’ Choice Award for her performance as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed West Side Story.
DeBose’s musical theatre career began in 2011, when she played Little Inez in Hairspray in North Carolina. She also starred in the original cast of Bring It On (Atlanta and US tour) and in the filmed version of Company. She returned to Broadway in 2012, for the transfer of Bring It On; in 2013, she starred in the original (Broadway) cast of Motown the Musical; and in 2014, she starred in a Broadway revival of Pippin.
But it was 2015 where she really got to shine: she starred as Martha and The Bullet in the original (off-Broadway) cast of Hamilton, as Éponine in Les Misérables at Connecticut Repertory Theatre, before returning to Broadway for Hamilton’s transfer – with one of the performances filmed and released on Disney Plus.
In 2016, DeBose starred in the original Broadway cast of A Bronx Tale, and in 2017, she starred in the original (San Diego) cast of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical – which transferred to Broadway in 2018. Since then, she has focused on her film and television career, with her London Palladium concert being a long, long, long-awaited return to the stage – and her West End debut!
DeBose’s television career hilariously began on the sixth season of So You Think You Can Dance, where she shockingly placed last – but that did not stop her; she persevered! She has since acted in Blue Bloods, Schmigadoon!, The Prom, and Westworld, had voice roles in Human Resources and Bubble Guppies, appeared as herself in Hamilton’s America, and hosted Saturday Night Live and the 75th Tony Awards.
Her upcoming projects are just as exciting. She’s starring as Mariah “Calypso” Crawford in Marvel’s Kraven the Hunter, and will return to voice acting in Wish, both of which will be released later this year. She’s also set to star in I.S.S., Argylle, Poolman, and House of Spoils.
But her most notable role is, of course, Anita in West Side Story – for which she received acclaim and a load of huge awards and nominations! Previously, her only recognition at award ceremonies was a Tony nomination for Summer.
DeBose recently attracted a whole lot of attention when she opened the BAFTAs with a number celebrating the female nominees. Some found it cringe-worthy, others thought it was ‘camptastic’, but all publicity is good publicity, for it turned Ariana DeBose into a household name!
The ambiguous line “Angela Bassett did the thing” has become a pop culture phenomenon, with both Lizzo and Adele referencing it at recent concerts, Todrick Hall sharing a remix on to his Instagram story, and Bassett herself referencing it when she won an NAACP Award: “I guess Angela Basset did the thing!”
DeBose has suggested she might open her first-ever headlining concert with a redo of the BAFTA rap. Personally, I think it’s more of an encore-style performance, but I’ll be glad to see it, either way. Do the thing, Ariana, whatever that might be!
Ariana DeBose In Concert takes place at the London Palladium on April 1 (no joke, fool).
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