Anika Noni Rose (born September 6, 1972) is an American singer and actress known for her Tony Award winning performance in the Broadway production of Caroline, or Change and her starring roles in the films Dreamgirls and The Princess and the Frog. Rose was born in Bloomfield, Connecticut. In her freshman year in high school, she appeared in a school production and caught the acting bug. She then attended Florida A&M University where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre, and started studying drama at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, California. Rose moved to New York without a job. After three months, she secured the role of Rusty in Broadway's Footloose. She followed Footloose with numerous workshops and two musicals using pre-existing song catalogs, Eli's Comin' off-Broadway and Me and Mrs. Jones with Lou Rawls in Philadelphia. Both of the full-scale tuners were rumored for transfers, but neither made it anywhere after their limited engagements ended. Rose's big Broadway break was getting cast as Tonya Pinkins' character Caroline's daughter in Caroline, or Change. In 2004, Rose was awarded the Theatre World Award, Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actress and the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Caroline, or Change.