Steve Adubato goes one-on-one with Broadway veteran, Ariana DeBose, starring as Disco Donna in the new hit, SUMMER: THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL.

4/3/18 #2124






"We are thrilled to be joined for the first time, not the last, by Ariana DeBose. She's an actress. She is in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. It is opening on April 23rd? Yes! By the way, it's over on West 46th Street, right? Mm hmm, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Just so... because on PBS we always tell the truth, we are a little bit before that. We're taping a little bit before that, you're gonna be in previews, the Donna Summer story? Yes. Now you were too young... not me, to know of her. What did you find out about her and why she's so special? Well, I... fortunately my mother loved Donna Summer. So my favorite thing when I was growing up is my mom and I would Donna Summercize together to her greatest... [laughter] What? What? What? We would literally... my mom would work out to Donna Summer and I would work out with her. So that was my introduction to Donna and her music. And then I obviously did my research and my homework, and I read up on her when I was auditioning for this piece, and she was a brilliant human. She really was such a generous, giving spirit. Right. And what I think is so fascinating is the duality between being, you know an icon... Right. ...for so many people and also trying to maintain your humanity right? You know... You know, as I think about this, the idea that this is being done, first of all, is so special, so smart, so important, and for those of us who, back in the day, as they say, I got to see her. I was telling the crew, like, "Where did you see her?" "In New York." "Well, where in New York?" It was actually at... I thought about this, it was actually where they played the US Open. They did concerts there. Oh. It was the Summer of '79. Perfect. Don't even go there. I won't. Mm hmm. And she had, I mean, tens of thousands of people in the palm of her hand. As a performer, when you look at the video of her, and then you're playing her? Mm hmm. What did you see in her as a performer? Well she was honest. She was so honest. But she loved to play a character. She was heightened, you know, she loved theater. Which I think is my connection with her. She loved theater? She did, she loved theater. She wanted to be an actress actually. Is that true? It's true, it's true. And she wanted to be a film actor in particular, she loved putting on a character and she actually had her own home studio with, you know, the video camera..."