Movie Musicals Are Bringing Ariana DeBose From the Stage to the Screen

During its Broadway run, “The Prom” was something of a fan-favorite among theater lovers — and nobody knows that better than Ariana DeBose. She was one those fans.

Listen to this week’s “Stagecraft” podcast below:

“Oh darling, I saw it three times,” the Tony-nominated actor (“Summer,” “Hamilton”) said on the latest episode of Stagecraft, Variety‘s theater podcast. “I was a bit of a fanatic.”

Now, DeBose is starring in the movie adaptation of the show that premieres on Netflix Dec. 11. “I’m a queer, Black-presenting woman telling a coming out story in a Ryan Murphy Netflix musical,” she said. “That is thrilling to me, and it’s something that I don’t take lightly. I do take tremendous responsibility for these roles and the position that I’m in.”

“The Prom” is one of a number of projects that see DeBose branching out into screen work with stories that originated onstage. As a member of the original cast of “Hamilton,” her work got a showcase in the Disney Plus release of the show over the summer, and next year she’ll star as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.” Even her upcoming Apple TV series, “Shmigadoon!,” is inspired by golden-age musicals.

In “Prom,” she’s part of a big-name cast that includes Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, James Corden, Keegan-Michael Key and Tracey Ullman, among others. It’s a starry enough group that DeBose said she would have been intimidated if not for her experience with “Hamilton.”

“Hollywood came out in droves to see [‘Hamilton’],” she remembered. “It did allow me to meet many of these people — whether they knew they were meeting me, I knew I was meeting them! It allowed me to get out some of those jitters ahead of time, so that when I did show up in Los Angeles to make this movie, I didn’t necessarily feel like I was going to fall apart. I could at least make a coherent sentence!”

Also on the new episode of Stagecraft, DeBose discussed leaving “Hamilton,” loving “West Side Story” and why there’s nothing wrong with ambition.

To hear to the full conversation, listen at the link above, or download and subscribe to Stagecraft on podcast platforms including Apple PodcastsSpotify, and the Broadway Podcast NetworkNew episodes of “Stagecraft” are released every other week.