The Wizard and Ari: Here Are Ariana Grande's Best Broadway Covers

Ariana Grande
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for AG

Ariana Grande performs on Coachella Stage during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 14, 2019 in Indio, Calif.

Long before she was a global pop star with one of the biggest voices in music, Ariana Grande wanted to be on Broadway.

Dedicated Arianators know the story well: as a child, the future superstar met Kristin Chenoweth backstage at Wicked with her grandmother, and after hearing the then-10-year-old sing, the original Glinda gifted young Ari with a magic wand and the following advice: "Just remember to follow your passion. Do what you love."

Grande took the Broadway legend's advice to heart and within just a few years was making her own Broadway debut in Jason Robert Brown's short-lived 2008 musical 13. (Though the tween-friendly show closed after just 105 performances, Ari's pitch-perfect vocals take center stage in her role as shy cheerleader Charlotte in finale "A Little More Homework" as well as encore number "Brand New You.")

Even with five platinum albums and more than a dozen Top 10 hits under her belt, Grande has never forgotten her roots on the Big White Way, frequently covering Broadway classics live and working with the composer who gave her her first big break.

In honor of her recent performance at Brown's SubCulture show on Monday (April 27), Billboard has rounded up all of Grande's best and brightest Broadway covers -- in no particular order -- below.


"Still Hurting" -- The Last Five Years

Ari made a surprise appearance at Jason Robert Brown's virtual SubCulture Residency Concert on Monday (April 27), turning out a gorgeous rendition of "Still Hurting" from the composer's 2002 Off-Broadway musical The Last Five Years. Stepping into the shoes of Kathy, whose husband has just left her for another woman, Grande emotes quiet heartbreak as she declares "Jamie is over and Jamie is gone" in the crushing show opener.

"The Wizard and I" -- A Very Wicked Halloween

In a full circle moment from that fateful day she was handed a wand by Chenoweth, Grande took the stage at the 15th anniversary celebration of Wicked in Oct. 2018 to perform "The Wizard and I" as Glinda's green-skinned fellow witch-turned-BFF-turned-rival.

Wearing glittery green lipstick in a nod to Elphaba, the pop star knocked the hope-filled number out of the park and all the way back to Oz, belting out Elphie's deepest desires that the wonderful Wizard of Oz will use all his wizard wisdom to make her dreams come true. Now who can make our dreams come true and get Ari to star in the long-awaited big screen adaptation of the magical musical?

"Suddenly Seymour" -- Little Shop of Horrors

Back in 2017, Grande belted out climactic Little Shop of Horrors number "Suddenly Seymour" while riding shotgun with Seth MacFarlane for an episode of Carpool Karaoke: The Series. After learning "how to be more" (you know, the girl that's inside her), the superstar later reprised the duet with James Corden during her own official Carpool Karaoke segment on The Late Late Show.

"The Lamest Place in the World" & "Brand New You -- 13; "Getting Out" -- Wearing Someone Else's Clothes

Ahead of kicking off her Dangerous Woman era, Grande reunited again with Jason Robert Brown for a special concert at Hollywood’s Catalina Bar and Grill in Jan. 2016. (Months later, she would go on to release a studio version of her original pop collab with the composer "Jason's Song (Gave It Away)" as a Dangerous Woman bonus track.)

Come for Ari's stellar take on 13's "The Lamest Place in the World," stay for her mind-blowing vocals on "Getting Out" (from Brown's 2005 solo album Wearing Someone Else's Clothes) and riff-off of a duet with Broadway vet Shoshana Bean on "Brand New You" -- all in one of her signature oversized sweaters.

"The Sweetest Sounds" -- Cinderella

The pop star took to social media in March 2019 to treat fans to an a capella cover of "The Sweetest Sounds" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Fun fact: while the sentimental number opens the much-loved 1997 adaptation of the musical starring Brandy and Whitney Houston for The Wonderful World of Disney, "The Sweetest Sounds" was originally written for Rodgers' 1962 musical No Strings starring Diahann Carroll.

"Take Me or Leave Me" -- Rent; "As Long As You're Mine" -- Wicked & "If That's What It Is" -- 13

Grande reunited with her 13 co-stars Elizabeth Gillies and Graham Phillips in Feb. 2019 for an impromptu night of Broadway karaoke. After belting out Rent anthem "Take Me or Leave Me" with her bestie (and former Victorious co-star) Gillies, Ari performed bombastic Wicked duet "As Long As You're Mine" with Phillips. The trio also dusted off 13 number "If That's What It Is" for the first time in, as the pop star tweeted, "eleven years...or whatever" for old time's sake before the night was through.

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