Ariana DeBose is what I call a quadruple threat: she’s not only a dancer, an actress, and a singer, but also kind. I first became aware of her when I saw her as the Bullet in Hamilton. The role requires her to move in slow motion—and so creative was she! It took such physical strength. I leapt. I could barely leave the theater: I wanted to see her slow-motion movement again.
More recently, we were both cast in the TV show Schmigadoon! I got to know the woman: silly, funny, not afraid of what anyone thinks. No fear. She inspired me to be the best I could be at my role.
As the first openly queer woman of color to win an Oscar for acting, for West Side Story, she’s a trailblazer. I think she’ll one day win an EGOT.
Ariana’s as authentic as they come, and whatever she does next, I will be cheering from fifth-row center. They’ll have to throw me out for screaming for her and clapping so loud. So go for it, baby girl!
Chenoweth is a Tony- and Emmy Award–winning actor
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