Ariana DeBose: Authenticity 
Rating: ★★★★★
Venue: London Palladium, London
Cast: Ariana DeBose and Benjamin Rauhala

Oscar, BAFTA, and SAG Award winning actor, singer, and dancer Ariana DeBose will appear live in concert at The London Palladium with Musical Director Benjamin Rauhala. 

Ariana DeBose won the 2022 Academy Award ®️, British Academy Film Award, Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice Awards for her performance as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story.

Ariana DeBose has taken the world by storm in the past few years, with incredible performances in some of the most iconic musicals such as West Side Story, The Prom and Hamilton. As well as being in one of my favourite TV series of all time, Schimgadoon. So when I heard she was set to come over for a one night only event, I simply had to go. And was lucky enough to secure front row tickets.

I was expecting a spectacle, and a spectacle was certainly what we got. It felt like a privilege to witness someone take complete control of the infamous Palladium stage so effortlessly and her stage presence was magnetising

Her quirky personality, wit and humour shone through so brightly last night, and the anecdotes interwoven throughout the songs were wonderful. One particular stand out moment was Ariana retelling the moment Barack Obama told her, "I wish you luck but Rita Moreno will always be my favourite Anita".

The reason you're probably here is to find out what songs she blessed our ears with, and it was definitely an incredibly mixed bag of smash hits. From Alanis Morissette's "Hand in My Pocket", to "Black and Gold", to "River Deep", to "Vogue" - it was a setlist that spanned through the decades

My personal favourites were her rendition of "You'll Be Back" from Hamilton, as our female King George, and "Alyssa Greene" from The Prom. In fact, her performance of "Alyssa Greene" moved me to tears; it was simply stunning and is a song that means so very much to me. And a special mention to her version of "Somewhere" from West Side Story. It was a song I never thought I'd get to hear Ariana sing, so it was a moment I'll treasure forever.

It goes without saying that along with the vocals being flawless, the backup vocals, dancers and band were absolutely sensational. I was simply in awe of the choreography and the musicality from the show. From woodwind instruments, to bongos, to bass, to cello, to piano - we were truly spoilt from the band last night.

While Ariana seemed slightly nervous at the beginning, the nerves seemed to ease fairly quickly and she was a complete natural with the audience. It felt as though you were chatting to someone you'd known for years, as she often responded to audience comments and made great eye contact throughout.

And if you were wondering, there were plenty of references to her iconic song from her recent Baftas performance honouring the female nominees. I'm not sure about Angela Bassett or Viola Davis, but Ariana DeBose most certainly "did the thing" and is now "my woman king". 

…Oh, and I hope you enjoyed your fish and chips!

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