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NC’s Ariana DeBose of 'West Side Story' will host SNL's first show of 2022
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NC’s Ariana DeBose of 'West Side Story' will host SNL's first show of 2022

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Ilda Mason (from left) as Luz, Ariana DeBose as Anita and Ana Isabelle as Rosalia in a scene from “West Side Story.”

North Carolina native Ariana DeBose will host the first new “Saturday Night Live” show of 2022, NBC announced on Thursday via Twitter.

DeBose, who grew up in Raleigh and Wake Forest, is one of the stars of the critically acclaimed new Steven Spielberg film “West Side Story.” DeBose plays Anita, the role that won Rita Moreno an Oscar in 1962 for the original “West Side Story” movie.

DeBose was recently nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her performance in the movie.

Her SNL hosting gig is set to take place on Jan. 15, with musical guest Roddy Ricch.

On Twitter, DeBose wrote: “I’m hosting @nbcsnl. Hold please while I go collect my extremities, as I have exploded from excitement and sensible fear.”

Before “West Side Story,” DeBose was known for her role in “Hamilton” on Broadway, and as one of the stars of the Netflix movie “The Prom” and the Apple TV+ series “Schmigadoon.” She was nominated for a Tony for her performance as Disco Donna in “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.”

As a dancer, singer and actress, DeBose is well-equipped to host “Saturday Night Live.”

In an interview with The News & Observer of Raleigh last month, DeBose said of her “West Side Story” role: “Anita is one of the greatest roles ever written in the musical theater canon. It’s a triple-threat role and it’s exactly what I am built to do. That’s exactly what my training and skill set has gifted me, so it’s a role I had always hoped I’d get a chance to play. ... I certainly never thought that I’d end up in a Spielberg film, but it was definitely a bucket list role.”

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