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 the Greater Hartford area, Ariana was immersed in the performing arts, singing with choral groups and in vocal competitions, as well as acting and dancing in a variety of musicals at school and throughout the community. At sixteen, she was selected as one of the first six CT based young artists to be awarded the Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellowship at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, CT, a full vocal scholarship program providing private vocal training, music theory, and piano lessons, along with monthly masterclasses and yearly recitals. Inspired by EDVF, Ariana continued pursuing music, specializing in Vocal Performance with an Opera Emphasis and studying with Chair of Voice & Opera, Patty Thom at The Boston Conservatory.
Ariana ultimately found roots in New York City while continuing a 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 performed at several venues in New York CIty and across the country including Paper Mill Playhouse, STAGES St. Louis, City Theatre, The York Theatre, Prospect Theatre Company, Latiné Musical Theatre Lab, Feinstein's/54 Below, Green Room 42, The Producer's Club, TheatreWorksUSA, 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, and the John W. Engeman Theater at Northport. 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 New York City 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 the fall of 2023, Ariana was honored to be featured as a soloist to sing alongside Little Amal, a 12 foot puppet of a ten year old Syrian refugee child, on her journey for the Walk With Amal in Hartford, CT. Now, Ariana considers herself to be an active "professional auditioner" and especially seeks opportunities to be involved in new works, readings, and workshops, continuing her passion for collaborating, creating and developing new stories which highlight under repesented voices as much as possible. Ariana Valdes is represented by Gregg Baker Management and has been a proud union member of the Actors' Equity Association since 2022.
Ariana is an active director, guest teaching artist, private voice teacher, vocal coach, and vocal music director, having contributed to various special events, educational programs and productions at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the John W. Engeman Theater at Northport, Bayway Arts Center, Studio Theatre of Lindenhurst, Conard High School, George F. Baker High School, Take A Bow Playhouse, Black Rock Theater, and recently served as a private vocal coach for the inaugural season of Hartford's Got Talent, which premiered at The Bushnell's Belding Theater. Ariana also serves as an adjudicator for Connecticut's Stephen Sondheim Awards.
With The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Ariana has served as a teaching artist for the Bushnell's Musical Explorers program, created in conjunction with the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall. Additionally, after leading several masterclasses with the Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellowship throughout the 2020-2021 season, Ariana was invited to make her directorial debut for EDVF's first ever 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 recently appointed Artistic Director of the Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellowship NEW VOICES program at The Bushnell! For more information, please visit www.bushnell.org/ednv.
Ariana is available for workshops, masterclasses, private voice lessons, college/competition/audition prep, and vocal coachings in New York City and Connecticut, as well as virtually through her studio, The Mixed Voice Studio. To inquire, please reach out via the CONTACT tab above.
Updates & Events
January 2024: On Sunday, January 28, The Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellowship - New Voices will present their winter showcase concert Dynamics of Growing Up, directed and music directed by Ariana, with additional music direction by Max Bennett-Parker and presented at The Bushnell in Hartford, CT.
January 2024: On Monday, January 8, Ariana will play VERONICA in The Complete Picture at the Green Room 42 in New York City.
September-October 2023: Ariana played JULIA in Brian Quijada's Somewhere Over the Border at City Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA.
May 2023: On May 5, The Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellowship - New Voices presented their spring showcase concert Once Upon A Story, directed and music directed by Ariana, with additional music direction by James Rushin.
January 2023: On January 14, The Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellowship - New Voices presented their winter showcase concert Wanting More, directed and 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.