When Ariana DeBose was in high school, she auditioned for a local production of the musical
with hopes of landing a spot in the chorus. Instead, she was cast in the title role.
It was terrifying," she recalls. "I had no idea what I was doing." DeBose had considered herself a dancer, but the casting directors saw star quality.
They were clearly on to something: The 26-year-old North Carolina native is now the female lead in Broadway's
A Bronx Tale,
giving a performance
The New York Times
called "radiant"--not bad coming on the heels of a two-year run as an ensemble member of
In the show, co-directed by Robert DeNiro, DeBose plays Jane, the love interest of leading man Calogero (Bobby Conte Thornton). But their romance is complicated: She's black; he's Italian. The story takes place in 1968, but it's one DeBose can certainly relate to. "I'm a biracial woman in a relationship with a white woman," she says. "So I've got
of those layers."
Next for DeBose is a layered portrayal of Donna Summer in a musical about her life. "She experienced great success and the downfall," says DeBose, one of three actresses who'll embody the legendary disco queen. "I've come to really admire the life she led."
Photography: Greg Vaughan
Hair & Makeup: Angela DiCarlo
Suit: Topshop, Shoes: Bally
Styling: Michael Cook
Photographed at the NoMo Soho Hotel, New York
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