headshot of Ariana-DeBose
Ariana DeBose

Tony-nominated actress Ariana DeBose will be the speaker via live stream for the Latino Cultural Dinner at 5 p.m. November 8, at the Brown Ballroom of Illinois State University’s Bone Student Center. 

Dinner guests will enjoy a meal catered by Illinois State University Catering featuring a variety of Puerto Rican cuisines. Tickets for the dinner are available here for $20, or meal plan holders may use a meal swipe to make a reservation in exchange for one meal. Tickets will be available online until November 4 or until sold out. Tickets will not be sold at the door.   

DeBose will be seen in Steven Spielberg’s highly anticipated reimagining of the Academy Award-winning musical West Side Story this DecemberDeBose was chosen from thousands of actresses to portray the iconic role of Anita, which earned Rita Moreno an Oscar in 1962. 

DeBose launched to fame with her role as “Disco Donna” in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, which garnered her a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and a Drama League Award for “Distinguished Performance.” The role earned her a Chita Rivera Award for “Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show.”  

Appearing alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda in the groundbreaking, Tony-winning musical Hamilton, DeBose was a member of the original cast in both the Broadway and off-Broadway productions as well as the Disney+ film version. After her departure from Hamilton in 2016, DeBose completed a run as Jane in the original Broadway cast of A Bronx Tale

DeBose starred in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix adaptation of the hit-Broadway musical The Prom, where she played the role of Alyssa alongside Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, and James Corden. She recently joined the cast of Lorne Michaels’ Schmigadoon!, Brigadoon-inspired musical comedy series starring Kristin Chenoweth, Keegan-Michael Key, and Cecily Strong. 

Other credits include:  
Leading Player in the Tony Award-winning revival of Pippin 
Mary Wilson of the Supremes in Motown: The Musical 
Nautica in Andy Blankenbuehler’s Bring It On: The Musical
The ensemble in Stephen Sondheim’s Company

The Breaks (VH1) 
Blue Bloods (CBS) 
OLTL’s Star Crossed Lovers Series 
Season 6 of So You Think You Can Dance (FOX) 

Event sponsors for the evening include the Association of Residence Halls, Cardinal Court Leadership Association, Tri-Towers Leadership Association, Hewett-Manchester Leadership Association, Watterson Leadership Association, Event Management, Dining and Hospitality, and Latin American and Latino/a Studies.