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The Ensemblist is an inside look at the experience of being a Broadway performer- from the first rehearsal through performing eight shows a week and beyond. Whether you’re an experienced theatre professional or a passionate fan, The Ensemblist will give you the opportunity to get to know new performers and the great work they do onstage, while also shedding light on some of the hidden innerworkings of the Broadway experience. Created and hosted by Mo Brady (The Addams Family, SMASH) and Nikka Graff Lanzarone (Chicago, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), The Ensemblist is the only podcast that shows you Broadway from the inside out. 

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"With Bandstand, I feel like I won the lottery."

Mo Brady

In honor of the Broadway opening of Bandstand, we asked some of the cast about their favorite moments during the show's creation. Bandstand marks cast member Erica Mansfield's 8th Broadway show.

Erica Mansfield

Erica Mansfield

"There have been so many highlights for me while opening Bandstand.  The biggest for me is finally working with Andy Blankenbuehler.   You could say it was on my dancer bucket list.  I was an Andy fan when I was an avid class taker many years ago so this is a very full circle moment for me.   He is still so brilliant and passionate."

"Being in the room with him has been very inspiring for me.  He keeps you on your toes.  He is up on his feet dancing with you and experimenting.  He makes amazing silhouettes that you can spend forever on and never perfect, similar to Fosse.  The challenge and grit of his movement is something I have really enjoyed and needed to remind me of what made me fall in love with dance in the first place."  

"It feels good, and it is always telling a story.  He has the ability to integrate historical choreographers of the past with his own modern spin.  It makes so me happy that styles are being passed on.  His movement quality allows for a maturity and sexiness that is so fun to play with.  On top of all of that he is kind and respectful to every person who is a part of the process.  A true class act."

"Other highlights?  Well there is simply nothing like coming into the theatre for the first time.  The energy and excitement of walking through the stage door, finding your station and meeting the people backstage that become your family.  Putting that together with the grounded and extremely talented people I am lucky to perform with every night equals gold.  With Bandstand, I feel like I won the lottery." 

Hear about the creation of Bandstand from Erica's cast mate Jessica Lea Patty in our Rehearsal Reports series.

See photos below of Erica in the ensembles of Broadway's Evita and On The 20th Century.

"The best part of Bandstand is attempting to dance like Andy Blankenbuehler."

Mo Brady

In honor of the Broadway opening of Bandstand, we asked some of the cast about their favorite moments during the show's creation. First, we hear from Ryan Kasprzak, who makes his Broadway debut in the show.

Ryan Kasprzak

Ryan Kasprzak

"The best part of the Bandstand process is spending everyday attempting to dance like Andy Blankenbeuhler. At 47, he is still the best dancer in the room and carries a quantity of swagger well beyond the legal Broadway limit. Trying to keep up with him is the most joyful kind of exhaustion. And pulling on a fedora with a band at your back and a pocketful of Blankensteps is the best thing a dancer could wish for."

Hear about the creation of Bandstand from Ryan's cast mate Jessica Lea Patty in our Rehearsal Reports series.

Ryan Kasprzak (right, with Any Blankenbuehler)

Ryan Kasprzak (right, with Any Blankenbuehler)

Storming the stage at Hamilton

Mo Brady

Podcast guest and Sunset Boulevard ensemblist Lauralyn McClelland tells us how Glenn Close and the ensemblists of her show stormed the stage of Hamilton to support Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Lauralyn McClelland

Lauralyn McClelland

"At Sunset Boulevard, we're always trying to come up with new ways to earn money for BC/EFA, and Glenn is VERY competitive! She heard they were using her name to raise money at Hamilton and thought we should let them know who's gonna win the fundraising competition by storming their stage during their Broadway Cares speech."

"Our stage managers secretly worked it out and the Hamilton cast had NO IDEA we were coming. We all met at their stage door around 9:30pm and the ASM snuck us backstage (thru the lobby and back alleys tip-toeing, about 25 of us!) and into her office to wait. We met up with Taran Killam who started the rivalry using Glenn's name when he was playing King George." 

"Brian d'Arcy James gave the speech and for their auction that night they had a picture of Glenn as Norma Desmond photoshopped holding a cardboard sign saying "lashes for cash"... because Glenn has been auctioning off her show lashes. Now they weren't just using Glenn's name, but MOCKING her!?! Uh-uh, that's when we stormed in, Glenn at the front flanked by the tallest bulkiest men in our cast!  'I'm Glenn Close, we will NOT be ignored, or mocked!'"

"The poster went for $8,000, thanks to Taran's excellent auctioneering skills and we all took a picture with the winning family."

"Something I love so much about our community is how willing everyone was to come in on a day off (Taran too, he played his final performance a week before), to prank this cast and raise money for a fantastic cause!"

Lauralyn McClelland (second from left) with Glenn Close and the cast of Sunset Boulevard

Lauralyn McClelland (second from left) with Glenn Close and the cast of Sunset Boulevard

Listen to Lauralyn McClelland on our Replacement episode here.

"Do not test Ms. Glenn Close, because she will come for you, and she will win."

Mo Brady

Podcast guest and Sunset Boulevard ensemblist Brittney Johnson tells us how Glenn Close and the ensemblists of her show stormed the stage of Hamilton to support Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Brittney Johnson

Brittney Johnson

"It all started when word got back to us over at Sunset Boulevard that SOMEONE, who shall remain nameless, was using Ms. Glenn Close's good name to "encourage" Hamilton fans to donate more money for Broadway Cares.  Now listen, I love Broadway Cares and everything it stands for, it is my great honor to participate in fundraising for this organization every year, and I'm thrilled at the amount of money we have raised as a community thus far."

"However, this is a competition folks! And if any of you have ever been to a Broadway Softball League game, you'll know that theatre folk can get pretty competitive. (If you haven't, you should, it's a blast! But I digress.) 23 years ago when the original Sunset Boulevard opened on Broadway, they won the fundraising competition, and we are determined to reclaim that title." 

"So we devised a plan...I don't know if you've heard of a little movie called Fatal Attraction, but over here at Sunset, we decided to send a little warning message to Hamilton a la Bunny in a pot. And Tuesday night, we headed over to Hamilton to surprise the cast and audience by walking onto the Hamilton stage and interrupting their Broadway Cares speech.

"The Hamilton cast was completely surprised and collectively we raised $8,000 in a live auction for Broadway Cares! Moral of the story: Do not test Ms. Glenn Close, because she will come for you, and she will win. Haha, no, she's actually the nicest woman ever! Who else would come into Times Square on their day off and spend an extra hour taking photos and signing autographs? I feel so lucky to be a part of this legacy." 

"Oh! And if you're looking for ways to donate and/or want one of a kind show swag, head over to eBay! We are auctioning some pretty amazing things, all of which come with an autograph from Glenn Close. It's for a great cause!"

Brittney Johnson onstage at Hamilton

Brittney Johnson onstage at Hamilton

Listen to Brittney Johnson on our Playing History on Broadway episode here.

"It’s given me so much empowerment to be a creator."

Mo Brady

Friend of the podcast Bret Shuford shares how he's found multiple ways to create and inspire outside of his successful Broadway career. 

Bret Shuford

Bret Shuford

"I’ve always been a creative person, never allowing myself to be bored, but I wasn’t sure where to channel that energy. I realized during my third Broadway show that I had leadership potential while volunteering for the Broadway Green Alliance. Through volunteering for them I discovered a draw towards being of service."

"In 2015 I became a certified Life Coach so that I could help others and also create additional income to fund projects that I was truly inspired to make. So far I’ve produced several concerts at 54 Below included "Broadway Does Country" and of course a successful YouTube series. It’s given me so much empowerment and inspiration to be a creator."

Learn more about Bret here. Listen to Bret on our Broadway Community intro episode.

"The performance itself was electric."

Jackson Cline

Six-time Broadway ensemblist Alison Cimmet takes a look back at opening night of Amelie:

Alison Cimmet

Alison Cimmet

"It is such a thrill opening a brand new musical on Broadway. I've had the pleasure of being in the original cast of four brand new Broadway shows (A Tale of Two Cities, Baby it's You, Bonnie and Clyde, Amelie) and two revivals (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, She Loves Me). Each experience has been different and amazing in its own way. Amelie was the first time I was involved with all the out-of-town productions prior to coming to Broadway, so it was particularly special to me. There was an incredible energy of celebration in the air: we finally made it to Broadway!! 

 

"Broadway openings are like Christmas. I got to the theater super early, yet somehow everyone else had already come because there was a huge pile of cards and gifts and flowers on my dressing table. I share a tiny dressing room with Harriett D. Foy, and there wasn't room in there for all the flowers we got, so we had to put some of the vases out in the (also tiny) hallway! I was especially touched by a basket of snacks our amazing dresser Tracey gave us - she had noticed what we each liked to munch on (and even what kind of gum we each liked!) and gave us a personalized assortment. 

"Then I went to the Gypsy Robe ceremony where everyone came together on the stage, celebrated those of us making debuts (yay Randy Blair, David Andino, Destinee Rea, Savvy Crawford and Audrey Bennett!!), and cheered on Manoel Felciano who took on the honor of receiving the robe and blessing the theater. I had a little extra time, so Phillipa Soo and I went to the tiny coffee shop next door and got coffee, and met up with Adam Chanler-Berat in the little park nearby. We sat in the sunshine drinking our coffee and felt joyful and excited. After that, I went back to the Kerr and got ready with my regular routine (do all my makeup, then yoga on the stage behind the curtain with the hum of audience members getting seated as my soundtrack, then get my costume on), and every now and then I opened another card or gift. Harriett and I both eventually taped our cards up on the mirror so now there are very small spaces to check our makeup/hair/costumes, and the rest is covered with love!

Alison Cimmet on opening night of Amelie

Alison Cimmet on opening night of Amelie

"The performance itself was electric: the audience was excited and generous and warm. It was such a relief and a release to share this show with NYC after such a long developmental road. After the show, everyone changed into their fancy digs and headed to the fancy party at Rockefeller Center. I walked over with my outrageously talented cast mate Randy Blair and was so thrilled to be there with him for his big Broadway debut. We did the press line, which we call "step and repeat" and video interviews. After that, I met up with my family, and we ate and drank and mingled and enjoyed the evening! My husband and father have always been my opening night guests, but this time I was able to also invite my awesome siblings Brian and Steph, and Brian's wife, Toni. My brother is also in the business (he's now a musical theater professor at Syracuse University - hi, Brian Cimmet!), and I think it was a treat for him to attend a Broadway opening night. I know it was a treat for me to have him there!! By the end of the evening, my feet were killing me and it was time to go home. My sister and I went to bed around 2am, and I was up just a few hours later at 6:30am, getting my kids ready and sending them off to school! I'll catch up on sleep eventually!

"Now it's time to enjoy the run. It's an incredibly company and a beautiful show, and I feel so grateful and happy to be a part of it. Thanks for reading!"

You listen to our episode on Opening Night here.

"It's easily the most energetic and exciting performance in the entire run." 

Jackson Cline

Amelie ensemblist Jacob Keith Watson discusses the most special aspects of a Broadway opening night:

Jacob Keith Watson

Jacob Keith Watson

"Opening Night is truly one of the most special things you get to participate in as an actor. There is nothing like it. The buzz in the air, the excitement and energy. One of the coolest things to me is the idea that opening night is the last time the show is being viewed without professional critical reviews available to affect your opinion (for better or worse). The opening night crowd is the last one to see it with those pure eyes. 

"The audience is also filled with family, friends, industry people, agents....it's just so wonderful. They are supportive and loving. It's easily the most energetic and exciting performance in the entire run. 

"One of my favorite things is the party. You finally get to celebrate with everyone who had a part in the crazy, wild process of getting this show to Broadway. Everyone from the Front of House crew to the actors to the entire creative team is there, celebrating the piece of the theatre you just sent out into the world. It's truly unparalleled."

Jacob Keith Watson on opening night of Amelie

Jacob Keith Watson on opening night of Amelie

Listen to our Opening Night episode here.

"It's like Christmas morning."

Jackson Cline

Podcast guest & current Sunday in the Park with George ensemblist MaryAnn discusses the magic of arriving at work on opening night:

MaryAnn Hu

MaryAnn Hu

"My favorite thing about opening night is when you first walk into the theatre and you get to your dressing room station. The theatre is filled with the scent of fresh flowers! The energy is humming, and it's like Christmas morning getting to your place that is covered in gifts and warm wishes."

MaryAnn Hu (center, in Gypsy Robe) with the company of Sunday in the Park with George

MaryAnn Hu (center, in Gypsy Robe) with the company of Sunday in the Park with George

You can listen to MaryAnn on our South Pacific episode here. To learn more about Opening Night, listen to our most recent episode.

"There's a strange kind of family" in the Broadway Basement.

Mo Brady

Podcast guest Telly Leung (In Transit, Godspell) shares why Broadway's smallest theatre will always hold a special place in his heart.

Telly Leung (on left, with Moya Angela and Justin Guarini

Telly Leung (on left, with Moya Angela and Justin Guarini

"'The Broadway Basement' is my term of affection for the Circle in the Square Theatre ("CITS"). I have the honor and pleasure of doing two Broadway shows there." 

2012: My first Instagram post - ever - in the dressing rooms of Circle. These two clowns talked me into it!

2012: My first Instagram post - ever - in the dressing rooms of Circle. These two clowns talked me into it!

"The first show was Godspell in 2012. The 10 of us on stage were a tight knit ensemble that supported each other on and off the stage in one of the hardest shows I've ever done. We barely left the stage. There was a dance party on stage during intermission, which meant many of us do not have a break in the middle. I personally had to come back early from intermission and bring the audience back into Act 2 with a reprise of "learn your lessons well" at the piano. There was a pool of water, and trampolines hidden and David Korins' simple and elaborate set - and we made lots of use of all his hidden surprises! (I will never forget Lindsay Mendez's face when she was told she would be singing a high-C 8 times a week while jumping on a trampoline!)."

"The show was about community and collaboration, and our director Daniel Goldstein went through an exhaustive casting process to find just the right kind of artists that could handle such a task eight times a week on Broadway. It was a show that required the kind of artists that could take the spot light when it was their turn to shine, but I also know how to step back and support your fellow ensemble members. Everyone had to check their ego at the door."

2017: Jesus at IN TRANSIT. Hunter took time from his busy shooting schedule to come back to CITS to cheer me on! I love this kid!

2017: Jesus at IN TRANSIT. Hunter took time from his busy shooting schedule to come back to CITS to cheer me on! I love this kid!

"The show had no star. The ensemble was the star."

"It took all of our talents combined to pull off that show, and because we all went to battle together eight times a week on that stage, it remains a very tight family even today."

"When the show closed, I had no idea the five years later I would be returning to CITS with another very difficult ensemble show. In Transit is 90 minutes of straight singing for the 11 vocal athletes on stage. Because it is Broadway's first a cappella musical, we do everything: every sound on stage is made by the human voice. There is no band. We are the band. That means we are often running around backstage, doing quick changes-while simultaneously singing doots, dits, dahts, and shoo-whops."

(To tech... this was a LATE night...) 

(To tech... this was a LATE night...) 

"Our brilliant director, Kathleen Marshall, also went through an exhaustive process to find just the right kind of singing actor-musicians that could pull off this kind of show-but she also had to find the kind of actors that have no ego. She had to find "Godspell-ian"-like actors that could hold their own in a solo moment, but also support their fellow actors when it was their time to shine."

"Again: The show had no star. The ensemble was the star."

"The sound that we create with the 11 of us, harmonizing in perfect synchronicity eight times a week in this relentless 90 minute vocal marathon is something that has bonded us for life." 

"As I start to say goodbye to In Transit , I am filled with an immense sense of gratitude. Not only did I get to build a family with Godspell, but now I have TWO "Broadway Basement" families." 

unnamed-6.jpg

"There is something very special going on at CITS. If those walls could talk, they'd tell you the most valuable lesson I've learned as an artist by doing these two shows: If you view the world as your ensemble, there's nothing you can't achieve as an artist. You can sing high-C's and jump on trampolines. You can pull off 11 part harmony eight times a week while doing a quick change off stage. You can accomplish all of this because (as Margo Seibert sings in "Getting There") your "strange kind of family" has your back on stage and off."

"Till next time, Circle!"

(2017: The Godspell family remains STRONG. Five years later, these clowns came to see me in IN TRANSIT and cheer me on. Here we are, reunited in dressing room 4, which is my dressing room now - but it was Julia's back in our Godspell days!)

(2017: The Godspell family remains STRONG. Five years later, these clowns came to see me in IN TRANSIT and cheer me on. Here we are, reunited in dressing room 4, which is my dressing room now - but it was Julia's back in our Godspell days!)

Hear Telly on our Ensemble Musicals episode here.

"I have a love/hate relationship with the opening night!"

Mo Brady

Longtime gypsy and War Paint cast member Joanna Glushak shares what she loves most, and least, about opening night.

Joanna Glushak

Joanna Glushak

"After being in this business for hundreds of years and going through many Broadway openings, I have to say I have a love/hate relationship with the actual opening night. And after talking to many others, we all kind of agree."

"There is so much extra energy on the opening. On the one hand it's delightful, gifts and cards are given out by the bucketful, not to mention all the flowers backstage and the candy, sugar and cakes! It's an amazing display of love and festivity and the one thing I absolutely love about that night is you get to write notes to everyone showing your incredible gratitude for all their hard work. Not an easy task when you're rehearsing day and night. So that's where it's hard."

"You want to get the perfect memento to give everyone to remember this special evening, along with a personal card.. one must find the perfect outfit for the party, plan your day so you get there early enough to surprise people and then be able to settle down and have enough time to get ready for the show. It's a lot."

Joanna Glushak (on right, with Jennifer Smith) at the Broadway opening of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Joanna Glushak (on right, with Jennifer Smith) at the Broadway opening of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

"Then there's the show itself! Of course you want it to be perfect because all the big wigs are there, even though the press has already been. So for a lot of people, by opening, it's just pure joy, for me, it's stressful. I prefer what I love about what we do... just doing the work! I love the day to day grind of just coming in and challenging oneself to do what you set out to do that night, without so much pressure!"

"But to anyone new in the biz or outside of the biz... opening nights are definitely amazing. They are always different and always a great party with new and old friends at the end. Broadway is an amazing Family! Tied together forever!"

Listen to our episode on Opening Night here.

"To finally be on a Broadway stage was a dream come true."

Jackson Cline

 Come From Away ensemblist Geno Carr discusses opening night of his Broadway debut:

Geno Carr

Geno Carr

"Opening night for Come From Away was special for many reasons, not the least of which was that it marked my Broadway debut. To finally be on a Broadway stage, especially with this show and these people telling this story, was a dream come true and then some. We've been together for a long time now (almost 2 years since the world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse, and 4 out-of-town productions), and I think that adds a sense of family that many shows don't get to experience. This show is about community, love and generosity and that is exactly what we felt on our opening night. I couldn't have asked for a more memorable experience."

For more stories about opening a Broadway show, listen to our Opening Night episode.

Geno Carr on opening night of Come From Away

Geno Carr on opening night of Come From Away

"I'm proud to join the Gypsy Robe family!"

Mo Brady

Podcast guest and recent Gypsy Robe recipient Catherine Ricafort shares her thoughts on being bestowed with the honor of winning the Robe.

Catherine Ricafort

Catherine Ricafort

"Receiving the Gypsy Robe for Miss Saigon was a moment I'll never forget.  I have long dreamed of being on Broadway, but I never envisioned myself as someone who would get to have the gift of going from show to show.  It was surreal to be surrounded by this talented cast, this legendary creative team, and storied gypsies from many other shows, celebrating my 7th Broadway show!" 

"With each show, I grow up a little bit more, learn from many fabulous gypsies, find my way into a new family, and have a lot of fun.  My favorite thing about working on Broadway is the sense of camaraderie and support backstage, and the ceremony is a perfect example of how tight-knit this community is!"  

"Something special about this particular ceremony was that the robe was passed on to me by MaryAnn Hu, who received the robe for the recent revival of Sunday In the Park With George, but made her Broadway debut right on this same stage at the Broadway Theatre during the previous run of Miss Saigon." 

Catherine Ricafort (center, with Alistair Brammer and Eva Noblezada

Catherine Ricafort (center, with Alistair Brammer and Eva Noblezada

"It's amazing how our theater world can be beautifully circular and connected. Also, many of the other gypsies who came to the ceremony were of Asian-American descent.  All of them have represented in shows both unrelated to and channeling our heritage, which is an amazing accomplishment.  They helped paved the way for actors like me to have great opportunities, and I'm proud to join them in the Gypsy Robe family!"

Listen to Catherine in episodes on A Chorus Line and Containing Multitudes.

"When we come together and continue spreading love, magic happens."

Jackson Cline

The King & I tour swing Kelli Youngman discusses the positive impact that collecting donations for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has on others:

Kelli Youngman

Kelli Youngman

"Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is such an amazing organization that supports SO many people. I love being able to tell people that their donations will really make a difference! Collecting with the iconic Red Buckets is just a small way that I can contribute to this cause. The amount of generosity and love that pours in after every show reminds me that there is still so much goodness in the world!"

Kelli Youngman collects donations for BC/EFA following a performance of The King and I.

Kelli Youngman collects donations for BC/EFA following a performance of The King and I.

"When we come together and continue spreading love, magic happens, and the world becomes a better place. BC/EFA literally makes magic for people every day! It's an honor to be a part of this beautiful, kindhearted Broadway community. "

Listen to our episode on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

"There is an unspoken energy in the air that everyone wants to help to find a cure and help those in need."

Jackson Cline

Wicked ensemblist Daniel Quadrino shares his thoughts on fundraising for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS:

Daniel Quadrino

Daniel Quadrino

"I think it's important to collect this season, as well as every season, because we are making the change that we want to see in the world.

"We as a community collect and fundraise as a way to honor those who we have lost to these diseases. Personally, I love to collect because it's a way for me to connect with people on a personal level, and there is an unspoken energy in the air that everyone wants to help to find a cure and help those in need. We are privileged to be able to do this job and perform on Broadway, so it is a way for us as a community to give back as a whole. Especially in the recent political climate we are our own activists, and we together are making the change that we want to see... It's the least we can do."

Listen to our episode on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Daniel Quadrino performs at the Easter Bonnet Competition (Photo by Daniel Robinson)

Daniel Quadrino performs at the Easter Bonnet Competition (Photo by Daniel Robinson)

"It fills my soul to see other people give back."

Jackson Cline

Aladdin ensemblist Josh Drake shares why it is important for him to collect for BC/EFA:

Josh Drake

Josh Drake

"Sparing some time during audience appeal season to collect for BC/EFA is incredibly important to me, because it fills my soul to see other people give back.  Getting to stand in the theatre as the crowd exits and meeting people who aren't from New York City and may not be as knowledgable when it comes to the foundation or the diseases it raises awareness for is truly remarkable."

Josh Drake

Josh Drake

        

Listen to our episode on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

"In these uncertain times we live in, the only way to survive is to support one another."

Mo Brady

Podcast guest Ariana Debose shares how she learned about the work of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and why she continues to support the organization.

Listen to our episodes now on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Broadway Bares.

Ariana Debose

Ariana Debose

"Looking back, I realize I never fully understood the meaning of community until I participated in Gypsy of the Year (benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS) with my cast from Bring It On: the Musical. Cast members of other shows welcomed us with open arms! I remember several conversations with broadway vets where they told me stories of how BC/EFA had helped them personally over the years. Whether it was finding a therapist, helping out with the mortgage, or find the proper resources for whatever issues with at the time."

"Not only does Broadway Cares 'take care of their own,' but they reach far and wide - across the US & internationally- to provide a helping hand to all in times of crisis. Last year I participated in Broadway Bares, and I was so proud to have been the top fundraising female - bringing in just over $16,000." 

Ariana Debose in Broadway Bares 2017

Ariana Debose in Broadway Bares 2017

"Especially, in the midst of this campaign the horrific shooting in Orlando took place. Broadway Cares made sure that a large portion of the money we raised went to supporting victims & their families. Watching Broadway Cares' realtime response gave me such hope and I'm glad that I got to be apart of helping to make a difference in the wake of such tragedy."

"The power of theatre that you never know whose life your going to change on any given night. It's the same with Broadway Cares. I believe by giving for the sheer purpose of giving, one receives the greatest sense of joy and fulfillment. While you may not see it, you know that through BC/EFA that $1, $10, $100 is changing a life for the better."

"In these uncertain times we live in, it is clear to me now more than ever that the only way to survive is to support one another. This institution is a shining beacon of light. When we strengthen our community we take steps to strengthen and heal the country we love and the world we live in."

Listen to Ariana on our Live From Birdland episode here.

Nic Rouleau's Favorite Way to "Make a Difference"

Mo Brady

Podcast guest and The Book of Mormon star Nic Rouleau shares why he collects donations after every show for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS during their audience appeal seasons.

Nic Rouleau

Nic Rouleau

"When it comes to collecting for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, I'm always very proud of our cast of The Book of Mormon. Ensemble, principal, swings, standbys - everyone shows up in full force to man the buckets at each exit of our theatre. BC/EFA is such an important organization and it holds a special place in the hearts of most everyone in the theatre community." 

"Collecting for 10 minutes after a show is such an easy way to get involved and feel like you're making a difference, which is why I'm out there every night with a bucket. We may not need Broadway Cares' services ourselves at this particular moment in our careers, but I consider collecting a bit of a "down payment" for when I may eventually need their help in the future."

Nic Rouleau (on right, with Ben Platt)

Nic Rouleau (on right, with Ben Platt)

Listen to Nic on our Listener Questions 2013 episode here.

"What is up with actors complaining about their Broadway jobs on social media?"

Mo Brady

Our friend and Broadway swing Chip Abbott shared the following post on Facebook this week. We asked him to share an edited version of his personal opinion here.

Chip Abbott

Chip Abbott

"I want to say something about Broadway, because it is bothering me to no end: What is up with actors complaining about their Broadway jobs on social media? Do people not know what they signed up for?"

"I get it, I know it is hard to do 8 shows a week. I've been you many times. When I performed at Radio City Music Hall, we did 16 shows every week. Whether you are in Beautiful, Wicked, Cats, Kinky Boots, name any show... Everyone is in the same boat."

"I also understand that the giant paycheck that comes along with a Broadway contract wilts to a sum that is not quite as large and sometimes disappointing. If you hate it so much, then step aside and let the girl or guy lined up with 300 other people around the block at Pearl Studios take your place. Evaluate if the struggle is worth the payoff and if it doesn't align with what you truly want, then do something else."

Chip Abbott (second from left) with Kevin Worley, Paloma Garcia-Lee and David Alvarez in Broadway's On The Town.

Chip Abbott (second from left) with Kevin Worley, Paloma Garcia-Lee and David Alvarez in Broadway's On The Town.

"My point is, have some perspective and sensitivity when posting on social media. Think of what it was like to dream of one day being on Broadway and save the complaining about what is quite honestly a dream job for most for closer friends in person."

"Again, I am not stating that these vents and rants are invalid. I have seen at least nine people complain this week about their Broadway shows. Broadway is HARD! I get it, I've been there. There are bigger and greater things. Lead with class and ask yourself how complaining will fix the 'problem.' Remember those #gratefuls when booking the gig and put a little focus on perspective."

A Broadway Show's First Audience

Mo Brady

A few of our favorite ensemblists attended the invited dress rehearsal for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this week. We asked them how it felt to be the first American audience to see the show.

Listen to our episode on Invited Dress Rehearsals here.

Listen to Nick on our Live at Birdland episode here.

The final dress rehearsal is just that, a rehearsal. And I enjoy the rehearsal and creative process leading up to a show’s opening so much whether I’m in the audience or part of the show. I love to be able to come back to it later and see how it’s developed and settled in. It sort of feels like play-doe fresh out of the package and then you’re able to see all the bold and creative shapes it takes on later in the run.
— Nick Cearley
As a gypsy, going to an invited dress of a new show, you must understand where the cast and the show is in their process. Tech rehearsals, followed by public performances and then an opening night, feels like a marathon. Getting to see the final dress run, you must come with all of this in mind. I like to view it with as much love as I can give cause it’s a work in progress. It is the small resting point that the cast has leading in to an even more grueling portion of the labor of love we call “Putting Up A Broadway Show.
— Gaelen Gilliland

Listen to Gaelen on our Understudies episode here.

Gaelen Gilliland (on right, with Tiffany Engen

Gaelen Gilliland (on right, with Tiffany Engen

Justin Keats (on right, with Amy Quanbeck)

Justin Keats (on right, with Amy Quanbeck)

I was excited to be part of such an encouraging and loving audience for my friends in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. After putting in weeks of work and finally getting to perform a show for the first time ever in front of an audience, it’s nice to know that it’s full of people who love you and will cheer you on, no matter what may happen it’s nice to know it’s full of people who love you and will cheer you on, especially since, as a swing, one of my friends was sitting right next to me. It also made me feel like part of an exclusive group and who doesn’t enjoy that? It’s really something special.
— Justin Keats
It’s thrilling to be with the first people ever seeing a new production take flight. It’s a cool moment for the performers and audience alike. The energy in the room is something extremely unique, special, and always supportive.
— Christopher Rice

Listen to Chris on our Swings episode here.

Christopher Rice (on right, with Clay Thomson)

Christopher Rice (on right, with Clay Thomson)

Andrew Wilson (on right, with Jack Sippel)

Andrew Wilson (on right, with Jack Sippel)

Seeing a final dress run is thrilling because it’s the unveiling of the painting. We spend months and weeks with our canvas and have this deeply personal relationship with it, then the time comes and ouila! The exposure helps the painter to know what feelings are genuinely tapped into versus what we think will be. And who can beat seeing some of your dearest friends living an actual living, breathing dream in the epicenter of the theatre universe?
— Andrew Wilson