Born on September 6, 1972 in Bloomfield, Connecticut, Anika Noni Rose is a Tony Award-winning singer-actress best known for her role as Lorrell in the huge box office and critical hit Dreamgirls. The daughter of a corporate counsel for the city of Hartford, Connecticut, Rose appeared in her first school production during freshman year and she never looked back since. She attended Florida A&M University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Theater. She then studied drama at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California.
Rose moved to New York without a job, so landing the role of Rusty in Broadway’s Footloose production after three months is heaven-sent for her. This was luckily followed by numerous workshops and two musicals using pre-existing song catalogs. It was reported that she was down to her last $20 before she landed her next gig, a movie musical. Her first big breakthrough was landing the role of Tonya Pinkin’s daughter in Caroline, or Change. Meanwhile, in 2004, she was awarded the Theater World Award for Outstanding Featured Actress, as well as a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for the production.
Rose made the transition to the movies in 1999 via the film King of the Bingo Game as Film Noir Female. This was followed by the role of Kaya in the 2003 film From Justin to Kelly, and in 2004 by Temptation and Surviving Christmas, in mostly small roles. She landed her first major film role in 2006 with the epic blockbuster Dreamgirls opposite Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Judson, Jamie Foxx, and Eddie Murphy.
In 2007, Rose played the role of Lavender, the 20-something no-nonsense woman who secures the Malibu Colony gate, in the USA Network miniseries The Starter Wife. The series was nominated for 10 Emmy’s, including one for Debra Messing for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. She reprised the role when The Starter Wife was renewed as a regular series.