About Ariana [she/they]
From the first time they saw Annie, Ariana wanted to give 'the hard knock life' of theatre their best shot! In 1995, she auditioned for her dream role of an orphan, but Hartford Children's Theatre had different plans for her. Instead, at age nine, she was cast as Charlie Bucket's dad, Mr. Bucket, in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, beginning what would become a long standing trend of playing adults before even turning 18!
Growing up in Connecticut, Ariana was immersed in the performing arts, singing with a variety of choral groups and in vocal competitions, as well as acting and dancing in several musicals at school and throughout the community. In high school, she was selected as one of six CT based young artists to participate in the Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellowship at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, CT, a scholarship program providing free vocal training, music theory and piano lessons, along with monthly masterclasses and yearly recitals. Ariana went on to pursue collegiate vocal studies with Chair of Voice & Opera, Patty Thom at The Boston Conservatory, focusing on Vocal Performance with an Opera Emphasis.
Ariana ultimately found roots in New York City while continuing their career as a professional singer and actor, working as a freelance soloist for special events and churches, and traveling to perform in theatrical productions throughout the country and abroad! Ariana has toured throughout the United States, Canada and Singapore with National and International Touring companies, as well as at several regional theaters across the country including The Gateway Playhouse, The Palace Theatre, Arizona Broadway Theatre, Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Prather Entertainment, SpeakEasy Stage Company, Westchester Broadway Theatre, La Comedia Dinner Theatre, Theatre Three, White Plains Performing Arts Center, John W. Engeman Theater at Northport and most recently, Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ. Upon returning to NYC from performing all over North America with the NETworks National Tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music from 2017-2019, Ariana went on to make her Off Broadway debut as Divonne Bruder in the NYC premiere of The Green Room at the American Theatre of Actors. Soon after, Ariana was recognized as an honoree of "New York's Latinos 40 Under 40" in the inaugural New York City edition of the Chicago based publication Negocios Now magazine.
In addition to performing, Ariana serves as a director, guest teaching artist, private voice teacher, vocal coach, and vocal music director, having contributed to various educational programs and productions at the John W. Engeman Theater at Northport, Bayway Arts Center, Studio Theatre of Lindenhurst, Conard High School, George F. Baker High School, and Take A Bow Playhouse. With The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Ariana has served as a guest teaching artist for The Bushnell's Musical Explorers program, created in conjunction with the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall. In 2022, Ariana also served as an adjudicator for Broadway Method Academy's Stephen Sondheim Awards. Additionally, having lead several masterclasses with the Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellowship throughout the 2020-2021 season, she was invited to make her directorial debut with the EDVF virtual concert, conceptualizing a professionally filmed documentary style concert entitled Time, Dreams, and the Changes Between available to stream on YouTube. Ariana is honored to now oversee the next generation of emerging young vocal artists of Connecticut as the newly appointed Artistic Director of the Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellowship NEW VOICES talent development program at The Bushnell! For more information, please visit https://bushnell.org/ednv.
Updates & Events
January 2023: On January 14, The Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellowship - New Voices presented their winter showcase concert, conceptualized, directed, and vocal music directed by Ariana with additional music direction by Max Bennett-Parker.
December 2022: Ariana returned to Paper Mill Playhouse to play SISTER SOPHIA and understudy THE MOTHER ABBESS in The Sound of Music.
July-August 2022: Ariana played DANIELA in In the Heights running July 22-August 21, 2022 at STAGES St. Louis! Directed & Choreographed by Luis Salgado.
Ariana was nominated by BroadwayWorld-St. Louis for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical and was also featured in the BWW Feature: St. Louis' Top 10 Theatrical Events of 2022 coming in at #8 with co-star Tauren Hagans.
"Number 8: The tour-de-force duo of Ariana Valdes (Daniela) and Tauren Hagans (Camila) in the STAGES St. Louis production of IN THE HEIGHTS. Filled with a company of incredible performers, these two actors took their supporting roles, elevated the overall company to enhance the story telling, and laid down two of the most memorable performances in St. Louis this year. Valdes delivered big laughs with her strong comedic timing, while Hagans stunned the audience with her emotional appeal to her family in her solo number "Enough." It was magic to see how these skilled actors can make the most of every minute they were on stage."
June 2022: Ariana joined the ensemble of Paper Mill Playhouse's production of Sister Act.
August 2021: Ariana was appointed as Artistic Director of the Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellowship - New Voices at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, CT.