Ariana DeBose appeared tonight for the first time as host SNL, and tells in her opening monologue about her performance as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of West Side Story, who recently gave her a Golden Globe.
“Now not many people know that, but West Side Story is actually based on another classic tale of star-crossed lovers, ”joked the actress. “90 days engaged. “
In any case, she said, she’s happy to be on the show tonight to represent not only the Latino community, but also Broadways. “Obviously, Broadway has been through a lot the last few years, but we are a community that endures,” she said. “I believe in Broadway changing lives. I mean, hey, it changed mine, and Broadway has this magical ability to bring people together.”
DeBose went on to say that we “can all use” a little bit of Broadway right now, recording her performance of a medley of songs from West Side Story, just to get Kate McKinnon on stage.
“Did I hear, ‘Sing songs from West Side Story with Kate McKinnon? ‘”wondered the SNL crew member.
“Uh, no,” DeBose replied. “But hey, Kate.”
“Sorry. It’s just, it’s my favorite program,” McKinnon said, “I’ve loved it since I went to elementary school.”
Of course, DeBose wondered what she thought of the new film adaptation.
“I did not see it,” McKinnon stopped. “I’m not leaving the house because of Covid, and also because I’m not leaving the house.”
“Well, in that case,” said DeBose, “why do not we take out some stools and we can sing together?”
And the song they did, with DeBose and McKinnon performing parts of tunes like “Tonight”, “I Feel Pretty”, “Something’s Coming” and “America”.
“It was pretty good, Kate,” DeBose said early in their performance.
“Yes, I know. I’ve been to Broadway,” McKinnon replied, “like the sidewalk.”
DeBose is joined for tonight’s show by Jack Antonoff’s indie pop act Bleachers. While rapper Roddy Ricch was originally scheduled to perform in tonight’s musical guest cast, he was forced to bow from the show on Wednesday after being exposed to Covid.
See DeBose’s opening monologue above.