Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Performer to Watch: Anika Noni Rose

Tony award winner for featured actress in a musical in the musical Caroline, or Change, Anika Noni Rose has tremendous potential to become a great big screen talent.  Rose has done a lot of work in television throughout her career, on shows like The Good Wife, and The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, but it was her voice that caught my attention.  Rose can belt out a tune, and boy should her talents be used a lot in the future, and she can act.

I first saw Rose as Lorrell in the film version of Dreamgirls.  In the film Lorrell is not as glamorous a role as Deena or Effie, but Rose made Lorrell so deep and she was great in this film. Her chemistry with Eddie Murphy's Jimmy Early was magnetic and when she finds out what has happened to him at the end and breaks down, you can really feel her pain and anguish.  Sure, J-Hud's voice was terrific and powerful, but Rose's quieter performance was so commanding and unforgettable I wanted to see her in more.

In 2009 she lent her voice to the first traditional animated Disney film in a long time, The Princess and the Frog. In this film she gave her voice to the lead character Tiana, which was also first black Disney princess.  Rose does some great acting and her singing is just as powerful.  This is one of my favorite animated Disney movies, and even through her voice you feel the emotions of her character.

One year later Rose took on the powerful role of Yasmine/Yellow in For Colored Girls.  In this movie she plays a dance teacher who starts dating a man and after their date in her home he ends up raping her.  The subject matter is intense, and Tyler Perry takes the material to a melodramatic level, but Rose is believable in her role that you feel her pain as the victim.

With great roles in television and film I hope Rose continues to gain future ground, as she is talented and has a lot of potential to do great things.

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