Graduate to appear in Spielberg film

Ariana DeBose looks to broaden her acting experience with the debut of “West Side Story”


Miranda Gonzalez, Art editor

Graduate Ariana DeBose has recently been cast as Anita for the upcoming remake of America’s classic, “West Side Story.”

DeBose, who was born and raised right here in Raleigh, is no stranger to the world of television. From So You Think You Can Dance to a special guest appearance on CBS’s “Blue Bloods”, DeBose has had plenty of experience with the big screen. She is also most known for her part as “The Bullet” in the famous Broadway musical Hamilton. However,

DeBose is now ready to take her career to the next level: acting in a Spielberg film.

DeBose had been working on the “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” when she auditioned for the upcoming remake of “West Side Story.” Given her situation at the time, she was exhausted from having multiple projects at once and didn’t feel particularly confident about her auditions. Despite her apprehension, she soon received good news.

“When I found out I had been cast, I was genuinely shocked. I was thrilled, excited and scared. I still feel all of those things—it’s Spielberg,” DeBose said in an email.

One of the first people to express their excitement for DeBose was Rita Moreno—the original Anita from “West Side Story.” This meant a lot to DeBose, for she has long been a fan of Moreno and her work. DeBose also finds inspiration in Moreno’s portrayal of Anita.

“She was one of the first women I saw on screen that looked somewhat like me, and she danced! She’s the epitome of class, and I’m grateful for her encouragement and support,” DeBose said.

Since day one of DeBose’s career, she has always had supporters who cheer her on from back home, two of those being her former high school teachers, Victoria Crouse and Mane Jones. They say that it was only destiny that

DeBose would make it to where she is today.

Crouse tries her best to visit DeBose and see every performance possible. Although DeBose never actually had her as a teacher, Crouse has still supported DeBose and encouraged her throughout her career.

Crouse was always aware that the role of Anita struck an interest in DeBose. Therefore, she understands just how important this role is to her.

“I know it’s a role that she has long admired,” Crouse said. “I was really excited for her. I’m looking forward to see what she brings to the role that will be different.”

Jones has been a witness to DeBose’s talent since her days in high school theater. As her former drama teacher, she saw the spark in DeBose early on. Due to her awe-inspiring performances, Jones knew immediately where DeBose belonged.

“I always thought she would be successful as a performer in the professional field. Her junior year, we did ‘The Jack Tales,’ and she was amazing,” Jones said.

For those who plan on following in DeBose’s footsteps, her experience has allowed her to develop some advice.

“I tell anyone who wants to pursue a life in the performing arts to stay curious, try everything and go ahead and accept that you aren’t the smartest person in the room,” DeBose said. “It’s about bringing your best self to the room and to the work.”