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de’ADRE AZIZA’s Broadway debut, Passing Strange, not only garnered her critical acclaim, but also earned her a 2008 Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. The show tells the story of a young African-American bohemian in search for his identity, both artistically and personally. Aziza portrayed three incredibly diverse characters: a 14-year-old sassy schoolgirl, a Dutch sexual revolutionary, and a fanatical German filmmaker. In 2008, The New York Times called her work in Passing Strange and in the off-Broadway musical Doris to Darlene “radiant,” and said that her “megawatt smile, silky singing voice, and dazzling beauty make it entirely plausible that she would be singled out for potential stardom.”
Aziza’s journey began at 15, when she was accepted, along with 31 other teens, into a summer acting program for high school students at the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. It was in New York, studying at the Lee Strasberg Institute, that Aziza put her passion for science aside and decided to become an actor. She applied and was accepted into NYU at the age of 16. While there, she again studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute and also at the Playwrights Horizon Theatre School with a focus on Classical Works.
Her involvement with Passing Strange began with a workshop at Stanford University in early 2006, and she has been involved in all incarnations of the piece since (Sundance Theater Lab, The Public Theater, etc.). She was instrumental in originating the roles she later went on to play on Broadway. In 2008, Spike Lee fell in love with the show, and collaborated with Stew and Heidi Rodewald to create an experimental hybrid of film and theater by shooting Passing Strange on stage. The film version will make its debut at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
In addition to a burgeoning acting career, Aziza has also made her mark in the world of jazz, having won the New York’s Sexiest Jazz Vocalist contest – put on by New York’s Smooth Jazz station CD101.9 and The Department of Bermuda tourism – 3 years in a row. By winning, Aziza won 3 trips to the Bermuda Music festival – where she one year performed with Roy Ayers – and also became the voice of the smooth jazz jingles on CD101.9 for 4 years.
de’Adre Aziza was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and raised in Teaneck, New Jersey.