Anika Noni Rose was born in Bloomfield, Connecticut. When Rose was young she always wanted to be a vet. In her freshman year in high school, she appeared in a school production and caught the acting bug. “That’s also when I started singing–I didn’t know I could sing at all before. I was in the school chorus, but who wasn’t in that? You could be tone deaf and be in that chorus. So it was really a delight when I found out that this was something I not only could do, but could do well and really love.” She then attended Florida A&M University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre. Then after studying drama at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, CA, Rose moved to New York without a job. After three months she secured the role of Rusty in Broadway’s Footloose. “I had one more unemployment check coming, period,” she states. “I got Footloose the week before that check came. It was a fabulous introduction to Broadway. It was a big showcase role. People like to hate on Footloose, but I am telling you, it was so much fun.”

Rose followed Footloose up with numerous workshops and two musicals using pre-existing song catalogs, Eli’s Comin’ off-Broadway and Me and Mrs. Jones with Lou Rawls in Philadelphia. Both of the full-scale tuners were rumored for transfers, but neither made it anywhere after their limited engagements ended. She was down to $20 in the bank before she landed her next gig, a movie musical. Rose’s big Broadway break was getting cast as Tonya Pinkins’ daughter in Caroline, or Change. In 2004, Rose was awarded the Theatre World Award, Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actress and the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, for Caroline, or Change.

Anika Noni Rose began her movie career in 1999 in the movie “King of the Bingo Game” as Film Noir Female. After her debut, she was later featured in From Justin to Kelly as Kaya in 2003. In 2004, Rose made her third movie “Temptation” and later appeared in “Surviving Christmas” as the choir. In 2006 Anika starred in Dreamgirls as Lorrell Robinson with Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, and Eddie Murphy. Rose is scheduled to appear in the upcoming films One Part Sugar, Starter Wife, Razor, and in Disney’s upcoming animated feature The Frog Princess as the voice of the lead character Tiana, the first black Disney Princess.

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