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Ariana DeBose, Hamilton, So You Think You Can Dance

The famed Bullet of the original Hamilton cast, Ariana DeBose, brings spunk and sass to Jane in Chazz Palminteri's A Bronx Tale.

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Best of Manhattan: Arts & Culture

By The Editors

Photo by Curtis & Cort Photography

12.30.16

We are a town of beautiful ideas, of course, and all of the big ones—from the arts to design to food—take center stage throughout the next 12 pages. Consider this your carefully curated primer for the season ahead. Happy 2017!

The Bronx Bullet
Spunky and charismatic come to mind when first encountering the infectious personality of Ariana DeBose, an actress, singer and dancer you can’t resist wanting to be friends with. Some may recognize her as one of the top 20 contestants on season 6 of So You Think You Can Dance, but the turning point in DeBose’s career was making her Great White Way debut almost six years ago in Stephen Sondhiem’s Company with the New York Philharmonic, working alongside stage greats like Neil Patrick Harris and Patti LuPone. She went on to originate the role of Motown the Musical’s Mary Wilson and conquered the part of Leading Player in Pippin, which she claims has been her most challenging role to date—she had to act, dance, sing and learn to fly trapeze.

In 2015, DeBose skyrocketed to fame as an original company member of the Pulitzer Prize- and 11-time Tony Award-winning show, Hamilton. Her role of The Bullet in the show’s climactic duel scene resulted in her own hashtag, #theBullet, which still follows her today. Now referred to as the “Bronx Bullet,” DeBose steps into the shoes of Jane in Chazz Palminteri’s A Bronx Tale, directed by Jerry Zaks and Robert De Niro with music and lyrics by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater. 

DeBose hopes to make Jane “as dynamic as humanly possible,” an “all-American girl with brains and sass.” When speaking about her co-workers, she says, “This is one of the warmest companies I’ve ever had the pleasure to be amongst. The show is about family, and that translates on[stage] and offstage. I’ve also [been able] to sharpen my skills with the king of theatrical comedy [Zaks] and learn nuance and subtlety from an acting legend [De Niro].”

This determined, talented young woman is making strides in the theater world, with more to come in various other performance sectors; she is currently working on a solo venture. “I’d love to do a political drama or a period piece in the style of Sense and Sensibility or Game of Thrones,” she says. “Both surround smart, witty, powerful women. It would be nice, as a woman of color, to play a character other than a slave in a period piece. I’d also love to do a romantic comedy. I pride myself on being versatile, and I don’t believe in limits. My dream role has yet to be written. I want my career to look like a fabulous trail mix of diverse, complex and unexpected characters spanning film, television and the stage.”

 

Second Avenue subway line

Tunnel Vision
When fully completed, the new Second Avenue subway line will stretch 8.5 miles from Hanover Square to 125th Street. Though commuters are looking forward to congestion relief on the 4/5/6 lines, the underground artwork has been equally anticipated. Chuck Close’s million-dollar installation alone includes 12 giant mosaic portraits at Second Avenue-86th Street. Works by Jean Shin, Sarah Sze and Vik Muniz will be spotted at other stops along the new line.

Solemnizing Solomon
NYC’s rotunda-shaped Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is celebrating its 80th anniversary with Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim, an exhibit featuring more than 70 artists, from Paul Cézanne to Pablo Picasso. The organizer, Megan Fontanella, Curator, Collections and Provenance at the museum, says, “At the core are works assembled by Solomon R. Guggenheim against the backdrop of financial and political uncertainty in the 1930s and 1940s. His radical collecting choices and belief in the spiritual within abstract art helped define our institution’s identity. Visionaries is essentially a story about relationships and will illuminate a group of people who championed the artists of their time.” Feb. 10-Sept. 6

The Present, Cate Blanchett, Richard Roxburgh

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK Cate Blanchett makes her Broadway debut opposite Richard Roxburgh.

HOT TICKET
Best on Broadway

Don’t miss out on these Tinseltown stars as they make their way to Broadway in 2017.

1. Catch Cate Blanchett as Anna Petrovna in Andrew Upton’s The Present, based on Platonov by Anton Chekhov. Opening Jan. 8, Ethel Barrymore Theatre

2. Glenn Close reprises her award-winning role of Norma Desmond in the revival of Sunset Boulevard, which she last starred in 22 years ago. Opening Feb. 9, Palace Theatre

3. David Hyde Pierce takes on the grumpy Horace Vandergelder opposite Bette Midler (Dolly) in Hello, Dolly! directed by Jerry Zaks.
Opening April 20, Shubert Theatre

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