Host of the 2022 Tony Awards, Ariana DeBose, paid tribute to her late drama teacher, Elizabeth Grimes Droessler, during this year's ceremony. DeBose praised her teacher, saying that she had encouraged her to pursue her interest in theatre and believed her career to be an absolute possibility.
Droessler died May 4 at her home in Raleigh, North Carolina. North Carolina Theatre, a regional theatre, tweeted their thanks to DeBose for the shout-out.
"Thank you, @ArianaDeBose for recognizing former Wake County School teacher and Administrator, Liz Grimes Droessler. May her legacy continue to live on," the non-profit tweeted.
DeBose has swept this year's award season. Ahead of her hosting gig, she received Academy, BAFTA, Critics Choice, and SAG Awards for her performance as Anita in Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of West Side Story. The Broadway veteran's stage credits include Bring It On: The Musical, Motown The Musical, Pippin, Hamilton, A Bronx Tale The Musical, and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. DeBose was Tony-nominated for her performance in Summer and won a Chita Rivera Award for Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway show.
DeBose also starred in the Netflix film version of Broadway's The Prom and Apple TV+'s Golden Age musical theatre satire Schmigadoon! and is set to return for the recently announced second season. She has upcoming appearances in Westward season four, Sony Pictures' Kraven the Hunter, Apple's Argylle, and the space thriller ISS.