My Favorite Mistake: Nina Arianda

Article excerpt

Byline: Nina Arianda

The newly crowned Tony winner relives her mortifying wardrobe malfunction.

Going to the theater or having the honor of performing in theater reminds you of your humanity in a very different way. It's a real release and an incredible challenge. But the stage is a dangerous place. You gotta be trained. Plus, crowds like when things go wrong. I think that's part of the thrill. Anything can happen.

I've had constant little mishaps and costume malfunctions, starting with my early days on stage. When I was 13, I moved from New Jersey to Germany with my family. The high school was so supportive of my dream to continue with my theater training; instead of taking PE, I would get credit for dance lessons. But I was desperate to find a theater community there, and I found a great one. I tried to be a part of Roadside Theatre in every way, whether it was being on stage, selling tickets and wine, or cleaning up.

I did as many shows as I could, and early on a production of The King and I came up. They gave me the part of one of the lead dancers. I was really excited. We had this number in the beginning where the kids performed for Anna. We all wore these really weird costumes--this was community theater--and I remember my pants were held together with a safety pin. So one night, this wonderful number is happening, and I have this great turn that I do downstage, and the crowd is loving it. Then at the final pose, my pants just came tumbling down to the ground. I was left in this kind of glorious arms-up pose with my pants around my ankles. I didn't know what to do. So I reposed with one hand up in the air and the other one holding on to these pants/diapers slack around my waist. …