Ariana DeBose on hosting Tony Awards for a 3rd time and Marvel debut

Ariana DeBose, known for her Academy Award-winning performance of “Anita” in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of “West Side Story,” will host the Tony Awards for a third time on Sunday.

She is also serving as a producer, and will choreograph the opening number with her longtime collaborator, Julius Anthony Rubio.

“We conceived this whole idea for how we wanted to open the show, and it, in my opinion, it does feel new and fresh, and it has a different look than my prior openings,” she said of this year’s Tony Awards, which will be held at Lincoln Center in New York City.

In an interview with “CBS Mornings,” DeBose said she didn’t feel pressure to top last year’s opening number, which she performed in, saying every show has different needs. 

DeBose, who was previously nominated for a Tony Award, said it is a transitional time for Broadway.

“As much as Broadway is back, we are re-establishing who we are,” she said. “The old playbook, pre-pandemic, doesn’t necessarily work now. We had a huge season. Now, we get to sort of play with the different audiences that we are cultivating and learn from them.”

Beyond Broadway, DeBose will make her Marvel debut as Calypso in “Kraven the Hunter,” showcasing her ability to take on a variety of roles.

“I believe in versatility. I don’t like doing the same thing twice. I think it’s good to be an artist with lots of different things to offer, and I think I probably have only scratched the surface of what I can do. I like to say I’m in my Debbie Allen era.”

She’s also stepped into the realm of politics, and as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she is encouraging people to vote.

“If you don’t make your voice heard, then essentially, you’re not participating, and we can’t, I just don’t think we can have that in the times that we live in,” she said. “We all need to be represented. Your humanity is part of your rights as a human.”

The 77th annual Tony Awards will air at 8 p.m. EDT on Sunday, June 16, on CBS and Paramount+.

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