Did Ariana Grande Really Get Her Start in Musical Theater?

As one of the biggest music stars in the world, with a brand-new album making waves, Ariana Grande is on top of the world. The young star weathered a tough year, including a whirlwind romance with SNL comedian Pete Davidson that ultimately ended in heartbreak, but she seems determined to move onwards and upwards. Grande gains new fans every day, many of whom wonder how the pint-sized diva got her start. While many fans well-versed in Grande lore know that she was once a Nickelodeon star, not many know the interesting way that she first made her way onstage.

Ariana Grande’s earliest career highlights

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Grande was born in Florida in 1983 and knew from a very early age that she wanted to pursue a career in the arts. Surprisingly, Grande got her start by performing on stage in musical theater, instead of film or television. While she was still a child, she worked on a number of school and community theater productions, including The Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast, and Annie

It was clear that Grande had undeniable talent, and her parents and teachers encouraged her to pursue her passion. She moved to Los Angeles when she was only thirteen in order to move her career forward, and that’s where she landed her first big break. 

Which Broadway musical did Grande appear in?

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Shortly after she moved to the Sunshine State, Grande scored big when she was cast in the hit Broadway musical 13. She played popular cheerleader Charlotte in the play and earned rave reviews for her work. Critics really took notice of how powerful Grande’s voice was, and how it seemed to carry to the furthest corners of the theater.

Grande ended up scoring the 2008 National Youth Theatre Association Award for her performance in 13, and it’s likely that at that point, Grande thought that her future was in musical theater. However, television came calling, and in 2009, Ariana Grande was cast in the all-new Nickelodeon show Victorious. The show was perfect for Grande, as it was set in a performing arts high school, and really enabled Grande to showcase her impressive triple-threat skills of acting, singing, and dancing.

Ariana Grande’s television career

In the role of Cat Valentine, Grande achieved teen idol status, and fans everywhere clamored for more. Grande wasn’t content to rest on her laurels as a teen star on Victorious, however, and throughout this time was consistently working on her music career. She started working with a vocal coach and performed on the official soundtrack for Victorious

After Victorious ended it’s run in 2013, Grande was cast in the spinoff series Sam & Cat, where she continued to hone her craft, both as a thespian and as a musician. With the ending of Sam & Cat, Grande was free to focus completely on her music, and she released her debut album, Yours Truly, in 2013. 

The rest is history. Ariana Grande has become one of the biggest pop stars in the world over the past few years, recognized by both critics and audiences for her incredible vocal range (which many have compared to Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston) and hard work ethic. Her newest album, Sweetener, has been praised universally, and Grande herself has won a plethora of awards and honors, including most recently, the Brit Award for International Female Solo Artist. She has a huge presence on social media, and her followers, known as “The Arianators” closely track her every move, providing her with support and enthusiasm. No matter what Ariana Grande does next, no doubt she will be drawing on her musical theater background to help propel her even higher.