Spotlight on Broadway Celebrates Oz: Ariana DeBose as The Scarecrow
For the 80th anniversary of MGM’s Oscar-winning 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, BroadwayBox teamed up with photographer Curtis Brown, award-winning & up-and-coming costume designer Beck Jones, and director/videographer Jaytel Provence to present Broadway Celebrates Oz, a modern, editorial look back at Oz in 2019 and its beloved characters. Over the next few weeks, BroadwayBox shines the spotlight on each of the illustrious participants in the series. Next up is our Scarecrow, Tony Award nominee Ariana DeBose.
Ariana DeBose first caught attention in 2009 on the TV competition series So You Think You Can Dance, where she cracked the top 20.
Next came Broadway. Well, the world premiere in Atlanta, a national tour, and then the Broadway transfer of Bring It On the Musical, created by theatrical giants Lin-Manuel Miranda, Amanda Green, & Tom Kitt. Ariana made her Broadway debut as the fierce Nautica alongside Gregory Haney as her La Cienega. These two were absolute scene stealers together.
After Bring It On, Ariana moved over to Broadway’s Motown. Ari played Supreme Mary Wilson and understudied the leading role of Diana Ross.
In 2014, Ariana landed her most high-profile gig at the time, taking over the Tony Award-winning role of The Leading Player in the Tony Award-winning revival of Pippin. (Her song starts around 2:10 in the video below.)
After Pippin, she reunited with Lin-Manuel Miranda to originate the role of “The Bullet” in the blockbuster Broadway musical Hamilton.
Coming off the roller coaster ride that was the Hamilton OBC, Ariana jumped into another new musical, originating the role of Jane in the musical adaptation of A Bronx Tale.
Next, Ariana left us all for dead thanks to her killer performance as Disco Donna in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. The role was a revelation—allowing her to dance the house down, sing her face off on the most iconic disco songs ever created, and have some heavy acting moments. For her performance, Ariana received her first Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.
Now, the screen calls to Ari. She recently wrapped filming on Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner’s 2020 film adaptation of West Side Story, where she recreates the Oscar-winning role of Anita. It was just announced she’d play closeted teen Alyssa Greene in Ryan Murphy’s star-studded Netflix adaptation of the Tony-nominated musical The Prom—with Ms. Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) co-starring as her mom!
So, honestly, it was a dream to have such an accomplished and physical dancer and actor bring new life to the Scarecrow in Broadway Celebrates Oz.
Photos by Curtis Brown. Costume design by Beck Jones. Video by Jaytel Provence. Hair and makeup design by Kenneth Griffin. Ruby red stiletto designed by Tyler Holland. Assisted by Courtney Christison, Izzy Arrieta, Tyler Holland, Alessia Aucoin, Eddie Ilie, Ana Maldonado, Michael Clifton, Dotty Petersen, Travis Whisler, Sean Ulley, Kayla Kuzbel, and Quincy Brown. Special thanks to Feinstein’s/54 Below and the JW Marriott Essex House.