In the course of a single Broadway season, twentysomething actress Ariana DeBose made her Broadway debut in Bring It On: The Musical and scored her second credit with the hit-filled musical Motown. Her first season will culminate with a trip to the Tony Awards, where she will perform — twice.
"Two just seems to be my lucky number this year," DeBose told Playbill.com with a laugh, following the news that she would perform with the Tony-nominated Best Musical Bring It On as well as the high-grossing new musical Motown at her first Tony Awards June 9. The rising star, it should be noted, also recorded her first two original cast recordings.
"Okay, I'm getting a little sentimental," she confided. "When [the cast of Bring It On] came back [to New York City] off of tour from Canada, it was right around Tony time, and I went to Times Square, where they play the Tonys on the big JumboTron, and I stood there and watched everybody's acceptance speeches. I watched Audra McDonald win her Tony. I watched it happen. I watched the performances…and I [thought], 'I want to do that — so badly.' We knew we were coming to Broadway [with Bring It On], and I thought, 'One day, if I work really hard — if we all work really hard — maybe we'll all be there next year… Maybe.'"
DeBose and the cast of the high-flying musical Bring It On got their wish when the production, which featured music by Tom Kitt, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Amanda Green, received a 2013 Tony nomination for Best Musical.
"I didn't see the live nominations, but my jaw hit the floor when I read them on Playbill.com," said DeBose. "I was thrilled. For something to be closed… I mean, we had a good run, but we're clearly closed, and we still got a nomination, which I think is the Tony [committee's] way of acknowledging that…the show is good."
The 22-year-old actress, who made her Broadway debut last summer as Danielle's sassy sidekick Nautica in Bring It On, claimed that she was bit by the theatre bug when she landed the title role in an amateur production of Aida in North Carolina, her home state, although her love for the arts began with dance.