Born September 6, 1972 in Bloomfield, Connecticut, Anika Noni Rose is a Tony Award-winning American singer and actress. When she was in high school, she developed an interest in acting, appearing in a school production. She then attended Florida A&M University and got a degree in theatre. She also studied drama at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. Soon, she got the role of Rusty in the Broadway production of Footloose. This was followed with other stage work, including Me and Mrs. Jones. Her big Broadway break came when she got a role in the musical Caroline, or Change. She was then awarded the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actress and the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical in 2004 for her performance.
In 1999, Anika Noni Rose began her film career, appearing in the short film King of the Bingo Game. She was also a guest star on several television shows including 100 Centre Street and the drama Third Watch. She was also featured in From Justin to Kelly in 2003, where she played the role of Kaya. Her next role was in Temptation, and was also part of the choir in 2004’s Surviving Christmas. In 2006, she had a major role in the film Dreamgirls. She played the character Lorrell Robinson alongside Beyoncé Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy. In 2007 she was cast in Just Add Water and was also in the TV mini-series, The Starter Wife. Anika Noni Rose also starred alongside Jill Scott in the Anthony Minghella-directed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.
In 2008, she starred as Maggie on Broadway's all-African-American production of the drama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof alongside James Earl Jones. The Tennesee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play will be directed by Debbi Allen.