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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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Blog

Two Outstanding Ensembles at the Chita Rivera Awards

Mo Brady

As Jeremy Jordan prepares to announce the recipients of the 2018 Chita Rivera Award for Outstanding Ensemble of a Broadway Show, a look of surprise crossed his face. The nominating committee had chosen to recognize not one, but two different companies this year: Carousel and Mean Girls.

These two shows couldn’t represent more different sides of the Broadway canon. One is a stately revival of a classic musical with graceful dancers executing ballets. The other is an irreverent new musical with exuberant contemporary movement and ensemble featuring Sexy Abe Lincoln (I’ll leave you to figure out which is which).

Yet in both shows, the ensemble is presented as a group of distinct individuals. Skye Mattox, a two-time nominee this year for Outstanding Female Dancer and Outstanding Ensemble stated “Carousel is an ensemble piece, but everyone is so individual in our show. (Choreographer) Justin Peck is a huge advocate of individual dancers bringing their own style to the choreography. It’s been so nice to be recognized as part of the whole and also to be seen as an individual.”

The Chita Awards nominating committee, which includes Broadway legends such as Robert La Fosse, Donna McKechnie and Lee Roy Reams, recognized these very different, but incredibly talented casts. In celebrating their diversity of skills and abilities, the Chita Awards confirmed the importance of celebrating the multifaceted artists that make up ensembles across Broadway.

When Jeremy Jordan announced the tie for Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show, members of both casts leapt to the stage and intermingled with each other behind the podium. Rarely has the familial connection between Broadway actors been more apparent than in this conglomeration of Northeastern fishermen and high school queen bees.

From the stage, actors from both shows thanked their choreographers and associate choreographers for creating a shows in which their talents can be showcased. Their voices and faces expressed many feelings from gratitude to disbelief, but none more self-evident than joy.

 

 

 

 

 

“We’re Recognized for Creating These Worlds.”

Mo Brady

Stepping into the lobby of The Skirball Center in New York City, the energy was palpable. Packed shoulder to shoulder were hundreds of theatre’s most profound dancers and choreographers, assembled together for the 2018 Chita Rivera Awards. At many of the theatre season’s other award shows, ensemble actors are supporting their talented nominated collaborators. But at the Chita Rivera Awards, these effervescent ensemblists are the ones standing in the spotlight.

Taking their moment to shine on the red carpet, the pride felt by these ensemble performers was unmistakable. “To be nominated for a Chita Award is so special,” said Rebecca Riker of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. “It’s such an honor to be representing our show.”

The sense of achievement felt by these actors stems from their participation in the creation of these celebrated musicals. “A lot of our ensemble has been with the show since the developmental labs,” reveals Nikhil Saboo of Mean Girls. “We were part of the process of creating the choreography. A lot of the inner workings of this story rests in the ensemble. We helped create a world, so it’s truly special to see that world be recognized.”

“In our show, we help create the world of Bikini Bottom,” notes Abby C. Smith of SpongeBob SquarePants. “It’s a really vibrant, beautiful world and we are an integral part of that, so it feels really special to be nominated for that.”

The ensembles recognized with Chita Award nominations are remarkably varied in their performances this season. However, they are all united by their work bringing the energy of their stories to life. “Without the ensemble, the audience wouldn’t see the full picture,” says Wonu Ogunfowora of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. “An ensemble does so much to make the story come to life.”

In addition to creating the physical world of a musical, the ensemble of these nominated shows create a culture of realistic personalities. “The soul of a show lives in the specificity of the ensemble, so to be recognized for bringing the soul to the show is pretty special,” says Corey John Snide of Carousel.

While the competition for each of the Chita Awards this season is incredibly fierce, there was a strong sense of camaraderie among the nominees. Ahmad Simmons, also of Carousel says, “I think it’s important to continue to recognize the work behind the principals. It brings us closer together as a community of artists.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Every Actor was Connected by Trust."

Mo Brady

by Megan Ort

Every theatergoer should see The Band’s Visit.. The show takes place over one 24-hour span in which the Alexandria Ceremonial Band from Egypt unexpectedly spends the night in a fictional rural town in Israel called Bet Hatikva. From the very beginning of the play, the tone is set for a cheeky and self-aware telling of this seemingly inconsequential series of happenings between foreigners. Based on the synopsis, it’s hard to imagine this story with any sort of high stakes. Yet the tension, both dramatic and comedic, is palpable from onset to conclusion. The play was a beautiful exploration of interactions between people of different cultures, and how even the briefest of experiences with a stranger can leave a profound impact.

 Adam Kantor, Bill Army and Sharone Sayegh in  The Band's Visit

Adam Kantor, Bill Army and Sharone Sayegh in The Band's Visit

I loved The Band’s Visit as a whole because I feel the show uniquely challenges the norm of what we know to be commercial musical theater. I walked away from the theatre feeling refreshed, and the sensation stayed with me for days, even weeks afterwards. With hardly any spectacle at all, this show spoke to me through its writing, direction, and courageously honest execution by the cast. The only moments I would consider remotely flashy were the instrumental solos and improvisation, which were incredible to witness live! These moments were earned and fueled by the profound need to express and celebrate, rather than flaunting virtuosity.

I felt that one of the goals of this show was to capture authenticity. I appreciate how this speaks to the current cultural climate. David Yazbeck’s use of harmonic minor scale and the oud (an instrument resembling a guitar or mandolin) evoked an authentic Middle Eastern sound. The score is surprising, playful, and haunting, and the music works in perfect synchronicity with the action. The lyrics are divine. Just take a listen to “Omar Sharif” for an imaginative journey through poetry. Itamar Moses’ scenes were strategically dry, direct, and naturalistic, almost to the point of discomfort. The jarring contrast between the scenes and the rich, epic musical moments paralleled the characters’ battle between the need to survive in a harsh, lonely world and the need to love and connect. The play is made all the more effective and entertaining with its delightful sprinkles of wit and comedic relief to cut the tension and keep the audience on our toes.

 Megan Ort

Megan Ort

The ensemble work was breathtaking. Every actor was connected by trust –  trust in the material and David Cromer’s direction, trust in one another, trust that the jokes would land, trust that the audience would lean in to listen to the slow moments, and trust in silence and stillness. I felt as though I was watching real people; as if I knew who they were or I had seen them before: the giddy girls at the roller rink, the quiet families at the local restaurant, the exhausted wife and listless husband, the young man hilariously crippled by fear of rejection.

The acting was unselfish; every word served a purpose, no note was held too long or over-embellished. I especially applaud Adam Kantor’s performance of “Answer Me” and John Cariani’s “Itzik’s Lullaby.” Both actors surrender to the words and the music. Kristen Sieh’s performance as Iris moved me to tears; her relationship arc with Cariani rings painfully true. And Katrina Lenk is a rare gift. Her completely unselfconscious embodiment of the character Dina was unlike anything I’ve seen in a musical in long time. Her strong physicality and intriguing vocal quality clearly stem from the character’s truth. She lives the story and the music in a way that is raw, guttural, and free of technique; it is pure magic.

I was lucky to see The Band’s Visit on a special night when the NYPD Ceremonial Band performed a reprise after the show. The introduction to their mini concert recognized music as the universal language. Through music we can speak to one another, heal, and express truth in a way words can’t always achieve. I wish The Band’s Visit a long and successful run, and I hope many more audiences may be moved in the way I was.

What Makes Chita The Ultimate Ensemblist?

Mo Brady

by Alessia Salimbene

Chita Rivera is often regarded as one of the best Broadway dancers of our time. With an awards ceremony named after her (The Chita Rivera Awards), she is celebrated as the ultimate Ensemblist.

 Chita Rivera in 1955

Chita Rivera in 1955

When she was just 17, she made her chorus debut in Call Me Madam and everything started exploding from there as she began to wow audiences for years to come. While this ended her career as a professional ballerina, she moved on to star in shows we still hear about today. When West Side Story appeared on Broadway, Chita stepped out of the chorus, electrifying the audience with her performance of Anita.

Dance has always come first for Ms. Rivera and her outlook has never changed, “The spirit of dance is an amazing thing. When the body and the spirit meet, it's a good thing,” she says. At age 11, she started training to become ballerina and moved to receive a scholarship to the American School of Ballet from the incomparable George Balanchine. The amount of Broadway shows that that Chita was a part of, either starring or in the ensemble of, is more than you can count on your fingers. But no matter what, each show and each role always encompassed dancing. Even after she shattered her leg in a car accident, she showed a magic ability to recover and win a Tony soon after for Kiss of the Spider Woman.

In September of 2005, Chita Rivera: A Dancer’s Life opened and moved to Broadway in November. This show was created by Chita to detail her life as a dancer and all the things in which she had gone through in her career. With a book written by Terrence McNally, the show emphasized different parts of her life, on and off stage as well as the importance of dance throughout the entirety of her career.

Chita will forever be remembered as “the greatest musical dancer ever,” bringing recognition to dancers on stage everywhere and making sure that the ensemble is never forgotten. She says, “Many of the shows I danced in don't exist on film, but they do exist in the memories of those who were in the theater for that single moment in time. And nothing can replace that.” Those memories last every Ensemblist a lifetime. Recently, Chita she received an honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Florida for her devotion to dance and theatre. The ultimate Ensemblist will continue to be honored by Ensemblists everywhere and honor those dancers who inspire her.

 Chita Rivera

Chita Rivera

What's Real on Social Media?

Mo Brady

by Ellyn Marie Marsh

 Ellyn Marie Marsh

Ellyn Marie Marsh

I love social media. I love keeping up with friends that I don’t get to see all the time and seeing their personal successes and watching their babies grow and watching them buy homes and achieve all their dreams. Because of what I do for a living, I’ve met several people around the world that I wouldn’t otherwise keep in touch with.

Likewise, I enjoy sharing my life with others. I love telling funny stories about the stuff my daughter says to me, promoting events, charities or people that I just especially love and I love a good meme.  I also share my personal successes for people that care and who am I kidding, for people that don’t as well.

I think finding the right balance of sharing enough of yourself while keeping a private life is a delicate negotiation. Do I share my heart and my secrets in order to appear transparent? Or do I keep that for the couch and only talk about with my therapist? Everybody has a different take , everybody has a different idea of what’s acceptable and everyone is free to make the decision of the kind of social media presence they have.

I am a calculated sharer. I pick and choose the things that I want to share with people and keep other things close to the chest with close friends and family. I generally don’t talk about auditions, family members who may be sick or struggling, or my personal demons or struggles. It makes me nervous and I’ve always strayed from things too heavy. That’s not to say I try and portray  my life better than it actually is, the opposite is true, I generally try to add a funny spin to a story or add some self deprecating comment. The same holds true when I choose to perform. I don’t like gravitate to deep meaningful pieces. I’ve never waved through a window or nor do I find it comfortable to sing something that will stir up to emotions in me. I like to keep things light and fluffy, easy and fun.

But on Monday, May 21, I’m going to step out on stage at Joe’s Pub and tell some of the most private and personal stories I’ve ever told in public. This is not my wheelhouse. This is not where I live. As the days draw closer, the pit in my stomach gets larger and I keep thinking “what have I done!” And “can I refund everybody’s money!”

Last year I had some pretty heinous things happen to me at the hands of another person in the community. It wouldn’t take too many google clicks to figure out who it is and this makes me more nervous than even sharing the story. But here’s what I’ve learned, pouring your pain into art sometimes produces the best results. There’s something cathartic about sharing your story and just having people listen, (it’s either catharsis or wanting to puke-I mix those two up.) The audience may not have the exact response that you want or they possibly may have the opposite response to what you want. I spent nearly six years in the same (glorious) Broadway show, there is a certain comfort in knowing what is expected of you everyday. So now, I’m going to step out on a new stage, all alone, with a bunch of foreign emotions and I have NO idea what will happen. Same me, different style. Godspeed. 

To those who are joining me on Monday, thank you so much for giving me the safe space to share my story and I hope I make it through. See you on the other side.


Ellyn Marie Marsh: I'm Sorry, What? debuts at Joe's Pub on Monday, May 21.

Ellyn-Marie-Marsh-2018-Hero.jpg

From Broadway to F.I.T. (and Back)

Mo Brady

by Nick Sanchez

 Nick Sanchez

Nick Sanchez

Growing up on Long Island, I did every school show possible. I did every community theater show possible. College was more of the same. I was lucky enough to make my Broadway debut in Rent just a year after college and from there I never stopped working on or off-Broadway. Altar Boyz. Tarzan. Mary Poppins. I was one of the “lucky ones." Sure, I busted by butt to get there, but I truly had never stopped and I didn’t want to. 

When I booked Mary Poppins on Broadway, it was my very first time in an ensemble track with no understudy. I had the opportunity to simply just go to work and do my thing. This, I learned, is where my mind is the most at ease. I am a creature of habit with clinical OCD and I thrive on repetition and routine. After about a year and a half, I was offered the opportunity to go on the road with the National Tour of Mary Poppins. And why the hell not? I was single, I was LOVING the show I was doing and I had never left NYC for work after 2004. It was now 2009 and I was READY to save some money on tour. Along the way on tour, I collected a boyfriend named Sam, a car and a dog. I was set.

Finally after four years of spelling out words with my body, I was ready to come back home to NYC. I also wasn’t feeling like myself. Theater and performing felt different to me after being away so long. So much had changed about the business and I felt way behind on the learning curve. With my mental health in jeopardy and my love for performing waning, I decided to take a break and decide if I still wanted to perform. Was I running away? Was I scared of change? I DUNNO. But what I do know, is I was ready for something different. 

 Design by Nick Sanchez

Design by Nick Sanchez

I freaking love to cook, so I tried a cooking blog. That fizzled out. I’ve always loved kids, so I babysat this adorable first grader which put my life in a strange place of being in charge of a small child. Sam and I had been together for several years now and I was feeling like I maybe wanted to start a family. But alas, SURPRISE! No job, no prospects for a job and I was grasping at straws. I have always loved Interior Design, so with the help from The Actors Fund, I applied to The Fashion Institute of Technology for Interior Design. Their program was great and it was a state school, which meant cheap tuition.

At that very moment, a friend introduced me to a casting associate for a little show called MASTER CHEF and suggested I audition. After all, I did love to cook and it was exposure in some capacity. After several rounds of auditions and the producers loving my slow roasted pork roast and blueberry compote (I know, huge eye roll), I was invited to be on the show! 

Because of this, I did not advance my acceptance to FIT and I also quit my job working at a high-end furniture store downtown. Two days before my scheduled departure, after still not receiving any flight info, I did, however, receive a short yet rather to the point email explaining that I would not be going any further in the process! I was totally gobsmacked and devastated. I don’t know what I would’ve done without Sam because the very next day, he marched down to FIT with me to see if there were any spaces left in the Interior Design Program. Someone must be looking out for me in life because there was ONE SPACE LEFT and it was ALL MINE! 

I love Interior Design. Because I’m a nerd, I had a 4.0 average with straight As and I was at the top of my class. Soon after graduation, I started working for a realty company in Brooklyn as a home stager. It was fantastic, but after a while the work fell off for the season and we were really struggling financially. I then took a job as an in-house Interior Designer/assistant for a private real estate developer. I was given a lot of responsibility that was way over my head and it just didn’t end up being a right fit for me. I probably hit one of the lowest points of my life at this time and I felt lost, confused and mentally exhausted.

I happened to be at a brunch with Sam and his family one Saturday morning and I bumped into an old friend, Jim Daly. I did Altar Boyz with him back in the day and it was great to see an old, familiar face. I learned that Jim was now a talent agent and he asked what I was doing now. I grew to hate that question because I wasn’t totally happy where I was for the past few years and I would often try to unsuccessfully bulk up my ‘goings-on.' I chatted with Jim about performing and why I got out of it. He literally just smiled and said to me, "well… if you ever feel like getting back in, give me a call." So I did.

This day changed my life. I started working with Jim and company at the BLOC agency just a month later. I was TERRIFIED! I hadn’t sung or did a kick ball change in over six years. I could draw up floor plans for you in a second, I could stage your home to sell in two days, but singing a song absolutely paralyzed me.

The first email of an audition notice I received was for a little skit called Escape to Margaritaville with the music of Jimmy Buffett. I was so nervous, but I sucked it up and stood in front of a room of familiar faces, sang and danced - and to my surprise, they remembered me, too! Now, I didn’t book the show right away (there were MANY other auditions in between), but just a couple short months later I was signing contracts for my fourth Broadway show. My body is thanking me, my mind is thanking me and so is my heart.

I love performing and I obviously needed to leave for some clarity. I didn’t think I’d be back so soon, if ever. Cathartic doesn’t do my scenario justice.  I was overwhelmed, thankful and entirely optimistic about my future. I guess the point of all these ramblings is noted best in the essence of one of my favorite Cy Coleman songs: “You gotta use what you got, to get what you want before what you got is gone."

 Nick Sanchez (onstage in  Escape to Margaritaville )

Nick Sanchez (onstage in Escape to Margaritaville)

"Every Choice They Make On Stage Counts."

Mo Brady

by Marialena Rago

Ensemble members are an essential part of Broadway shows, but they do not get the recognition they deserve. Currently, there is no major award for ensemble members. Actors' Equity Association is fighting to change that.

 Tracee Beazer Barrett

Tracee Beazer Barrett

Early last month, Actors' Equity Association, the labor union representing American actors and stage managers in the theatre, created a petition and campaign called “Everyone On Stage." This campaign is to create two new Tony Awards for the 2019 ceremony; Best Chorus in a Musical or Play and Best Ensemble in a Musical or Play. For ensemble members, this award is more than an accolade, it makes them feel that they matter. “Both of these awards would mean that though the leads are at the forefront of the production, as they should be, the work and dedication of the ensemble is seen and appreciated. Not just by the audience members, but also by our peers and ‘powers that be,'” says Frozen ensemble member Tracee Beazer Barrett.

Barrett has been an ensemble member in Memphis, Something Rotten!, Hairspray, and many more Broadway shows. “Being part of an ensemble can be inspiring, grueling, fulfilling, thankless, creative, life-changing and much more,” she says. “I've been in a true ensemble piece where everyone, including the ensemble, were made to feel like they were an integral part of the story and I've been in others where you were made to feel like expensively dressed scenery. Whichever it may be, we are still so very important to the look, feel, energy, integrity of the show. And that is something I am always proud of.”

Many audience members might not know the tiring schedule that ensemble members have to endure. Not only do they know their ensemble part, but many of them also have understudy roles. This means that they have to know their part in the chorus and also be prepared to step in for a lead. “There is a misconception that we are in the ensemble because we are the least talented. Often times it’s the exact opposite. We're just as talented. We have to do everything the principles do PLUS also dance or have a special skill. Say all of the principals were out of the show the same day, if you think about it, between the ensemble and the amazing swings, we could still put on a fierce skit. However, I don't think the same could be said if most of your ensemble were out. We are doing the brunt of the jumping around onstage and running around backstage, whilst belting our faces off. All of that after having been at understudy rehearsal all day.”

This isn’t the first change Equity has made this year. In April, the association announced that they will be changing the time-honored “Gypsy Robe Ceremony” name. When the ceremony started, gypsy was a term that actors were called because they wandered from one Broadway chorus to another, always on the move. Traditionally, it is a racial slur directed to a person of Romani heritage. “I think they're making the changes now because they're not deaf to the cries for sensitivity, equality, inclusion and change. With the current climate in this country- where people and organizations are being called to task for their practices of inequalities and biases - Equity knows they have to be a part of the solution.”

At the moment, there is no word on whether the new awards will be implemented at the 2019 Tony Awards, but Barrett says there is more talk of it now than ever. As for if/when the award is created, Barrett hopes that audiences recognize the “superheroes otherwise known as the ensemble” and that the legacy of the award “would help ensemble members have a bigger sense of pride in the role they play in a production's success. That every choice they make on that stage counts, is seen and might even get them a Tony.”   

 Tracee Beazer Barrett

Tracee Beazer Barrett

“Best Actors Not Eligible for a Tony Award This Season"

Mo Brady

by Mo Brady

On Sunday, June 10, many of Broadway’s most talented artists will be celebrated at the 72nd Annual Tony Awards. From producers to sound designers, the nominees and winners for this year’s 26 categories will get the opportunity to be celebrated by a wider audience or industry professionals and theatre fans. One group of artists that won’t receive recognition that Sunday ae ensemble actors. While they will be onstage performing with their nominated shows, they will not be able to step out and celebrated for their achievements.  

Actors’ Equity Association’s #EveryoneOnStage campaign is trying to change that by petitioning for the creation of two new categories for the 2019 season—Best Chorus in a Musical or Play, and Best Ensemble in a Musical or Play.

In the spirit of “Everyone On Stage” these would be our nominees for “Best Actors Not Eligible for a Tony Award This Season."

 Matt Allen

Matt Allen

Matt Allen - Escape to Margaritaville

A Gypsy Robe recipient, Matt Allen has performed in Broadway ensembles for almost two decades. From Honeymoon in Vegas to Something Rotten!, Allen has shown a presence and precision of movement that is virtually unparalleled on Broadway. This season, he uses his smooth, sophisticated stage presence to cut fast and loose as one of the island-loving vacationers in Escape to Margaritaville.

 Benjamin Cook

Benjamin Cook

Benjamin Cook - Mean Girls

Nobody on Broadway moves with as much unbridled energy as Ben Cook. When he dances, it’s us if every limb is working in harmony, transmitting the choreographic intention not only from his core but from his guts. In what has become his calling card, Cook flawlessly executes the high-octane choreography of Mean Girls with reliability, slaying from “It Roars” to “Apex Predator.”

 Jai'Len Christine Li Josey

Jai'Len Christine Li Josey

Jai'Len Christine Li Josey - SpongeBob SquarePants

If anyone has made a stunning Broadway debut this season, it has to be Jai'Len Christine Li Josey. Her performance as Pearl Krabs in SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the most exhilarating performances currently on Broadway. She plays both emotional desperation and unadulterated joy in perfect tune with the production’s energetic sensibility. Most notably, she makes her Act I duet “Daddy Knows Better” a showstopping tour de force.   

 Wonu Ogunfowora

Wonu Ogunfowora

Wonu Ogunfowora - Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

The ensemble of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical features more than a dozen fiercely talented woman. From belting pop anthems to executing dynamic choreography, this company commands audiences to lean forward and celebrate the life of Donna Summer with unmitigated passion. Forefront in this effort is Wonu Ogunfowora, who brings grit and strength to her movement, as well as a refreshing simplicity to her scene work as Young Mary Ellen and Brooklyn.

 Ann Sanders

Ann Sanders

Ann Sanders - Frozen

A successful ensemblist performance isn’t always about slick vocals for technical dance moves. Sometimes, it’s about endowing a character with depth not found in the script. Ann Sanders’ portrayal of Queen Iduna in Frozen is filled with warmth and heart, catapulting the emotional longing of both Elsa and Anna into the show’s processings. A Broadway veteran who made her debut in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the ease with which Sanders commands a stage is impressive and cherishable.

"It Is Sure to be Thrilling."

Mo Brady

by Mo Brady

Michael Horsley is used to juggling multiple musical scores simultaneously. As the musical supervisor for The Muny in St. Louis, Missouri for the last 25 years, he spends each summer juggling the seven musicals that make up each theatre season.

 Michael Horsley

Michael Horsley

However, this year Horsley takes on the additional responsibility of musical supervisor for the theatre’s production of Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, a show that has not been produced professionally in 30 years.

Next month, The Muny in St. Louis will stage the first professional production of Jerome Robbins’ Broadway in nearly 30 years. Performed as a revue, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway features dance suites from On The Town, Billion Dollar Baby, West Side Story, The King and I, Peter Pan, High Button Shoes, Call Me Madam and Fiddler On The Roof.

Delving into the scores of these eight iconic musicals is a treat for Horsley: “The show includes some of the best music ever written for the theatre: The King and I and Fiddler on the Roof, among some not so well-known pieces. But across the board, the music is incredible and fulfilling to conduct.”

As Music Supervisor for The Muny for more than two decades, Horsley has been a part of the recent creation of the stage adaptations of White Christmas, Roman Holiday and Holiday Inn. He has also music directed the theatre’s recent productions of Newsies and Mamma Mia!, as well as dozens of other shows during his tenure.

However, working on Jerome Robbins’ Broadway has provided some unique challenges, due to the show’s dormant history. “This score has never been licensed or published,” notes Horsley. “For decades, the orchestrations have only existed at the Shubert Organization archives, located in a 5th floor walk up on 45th Street in New York City.”

  West Side Story  at The Muny

West Side Story at The Muny

In order to start the process of preparing the show for production at The Muny, 35 boxes of original orchestrations and notes had to be scanned and sent to Horsley. “Originally, they rehearsed the show for six months. So the score has six months worth of notes, edits and adjustments in it.”

While Jerome Robbins’ Broadway is a showcase for dance and choreography, the production’s 49-person ensemble will also sing some of Broadway’s most memorable music. The West Side Story suite includes “Cool,” “America” and “Somewhere.” Large portions of the Fiddler on the Roof and On The Town sections are sung through, as well.

That makes casting Jerome Robbins’ Broadway a unique challenge, as the dancers’ have to be able to portray some of musical theatre’s most memorable roles as well. “There’s a quality of voice that is important to each role,” reveals Horsley. “That’s the trick of casting. We need to find a dancer who can sing with the vocal quality of each character, from the brassy, belty sound of  Hildy in On The Town, to the nightmarish quality of Fruma Sarah from Fiddler on the Roof.”

  Fiddler on the Roof  at The Muny

Fiddler on the Roof at The Muny

Horsley has the monumental task of teaching this score in ten days. However, he is an expert at teaching music both quickly and effectively: “For the most part, it’s all about preparation. We send out parts well in advance so they can study it. When they get here, there is a certain familiarity with the score. Beyond that, it is creative scheduling. There’s an art at The Muny of getting everything on its feet knowing that down the road it will only get better.”

During The Muny’s seven performances of Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Horsley will stand on the conductor’s podium and lead the orchestra’s 29 players. He notes that the opportunity to conduct an orchestra of this size is a rare gift for music directors: “Whenever The Muny produces a show, they hire the licensed orchestrations as well. They never do reductions. We are one of the last theatres in the country with a tenured orchestra.”

Under Horsley’s direction, this epic orchestra and large cast will join together to bring the score to life. “One of the pieces I am most looking forward to conducting is the Overture,” says Horsley. “In the original production, the vocals were pre-recorded but we will be performing them live. At the Muny, there are these huge rolling walls on stage. When the show begins, they will open up and reveal the entire cast singing on stage. It is sure to be thrilling.”


Jerome Robbins’ Broadway opens The Muny’s historic centennial season June 11 - 17. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit their website.




 

Five Actors Never (Yet) Eligible for a Tony Award

Mo Brady

by Mo Brady

Award Season is always a bittersweet time in the theatre community. While it is exciting to celebrate the actors recognized for Tony Awards and other accolades, it’s also a time where we remember that many of our industry’s most incredible contributors have never been eligible for Tony Awards.

Actors’ Equity Association’s #EveryoneOnStage campaign is trying to change that by petitioning for the creation of two new categories for the 2019 season—Best Chorus in a Musical or Play, and Best Ensemble in a Musical or Play.

In the spirit of “Everyone On Stage” these would be our nominees for “Best Actors Never (yet) Eligible for a Tony Award.”

 Adrian Bailey

Adrian Bailey

Adrian Bailey

Adrian is a true Broadway legend. He made his Broadway debut in 1980 as a swing dancer in Your Arms Too Short to Box With God and went on to originate tracks in Sophisticated Ladies, Jelly’s Last Jam and The Wild Party. Adrian also has an extensive career as a Broadway understudy, covering stars from Gregory Hines to Norm Lewis. His last Broadway appearance was in the original company of the 2008 musical The Little Mermaid, almost three decades after he made his debut.

 Mary Ann Lamb

Mary Ann Lamb

Mary Ann Lamb

MaryAnn Lamb made her Broadway debut covering Charlotte d’Amboise in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance, and went on to dance on Broadway stages for more than two decades. In the late 1980s she was an original cast member of both the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, and the infamous Broadway flop Carrie. She originated the role of June in the long-running Broadway revival of Chicago. In 2007, she created the role of Mona Page in Kander and Ebb’s Curtains.

 Cynthia Onrubia

Cynthia Onrubia

Cynthia Onrubia

In a career spanning more than four decades, Cynthia Onrubia has had a hand in creating some of Broadway’s most-beloved musicals. She made her Broadway debut while still in high school as a replacement in the original production of A Chorus Line. She originated roles in Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, and created the role of white cat Victoria in the Original Broadway cast of Cats. Cynthia also assisted Jerome Robbins on the original production of Jerome Robbins’ Broadway and was the associate choreographer for both the 1998 and 2014 Broadway revivals of Cabaret.

 William Ryall

William Ryall

William Ryall

William Ryall’s Broadway career spans 14 Broadway shows, from the original production of Me and My Girl to the most recent revival of Anything Goes. He created the roles of the Grinch in Seussical, Edmund in High Society and Franz Kohl in Grand Hotel. He is currently in the Broadway cast of Wicked, performing in the ensemble as well as covering the roles of Doctor Dillamond and the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

 Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith

A true grande dame of Broadway, Jennifer Smith has created ensemble tracks in four Broadway musicals in just this decade alone: Anastasia, Tuck Everlasting, A Gentleman’s Guide and Nice Work If You Can Get It. She was an original company member of both La Cage Aux Folles in 1983 and The Secret Garden in 1991, as well as originating the roles of Kitty in The Drowsy Chaperone and Lick-Me Bite-Me in The Producers. Currently, she performs in the ensemble and covers the role of Dowager Empress in Broadway’s Anastasia.

Not a Simple Swing

Mo Brady

by Juliane Godfrey

 Juliane Godfrey in  SpongeBob SquarePants

Juliane Godfrey in SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob SquarePants marks both my Broadway debut and my first time as both a swing and a Dance Captain, an initially terrifying proposal when I was presented with the offer. Being a swing/Dance Captain means constantly juggling two full-time jobs: You are both cast member and production assistant; you must be able to perform the show in a number of roles and also maintain it, sometimes at the same time if you're already on when a swing emergency happens (and happen they do). I always tell people that if this show were synonymous with taking my first swim lesson, I feel as if I jumped head-first into the deepest end of the pool without floaties (oceanic pun intended). I am constantly treading water in uncharted territory: Learning and charting 20 entirely different tracks in a show where every actor plays a distinctly different character; giving notes to those actors, most of whom are older than me and have up to 11 Broadway credits; swinging on both mid-rehearsal and mid-show for tracks I've never done in costumes I've never worn; teaching vacation swings and replacements and planning split-tracks, sometimes all in the same week; and most importantly, learning how to breathe through it all, even when I find myself playing six different people in eight days. Please, God, never again.  

Needless to say, I've struggled with all the newfound pressure and anxiety that stems from having so much responsibility. But at the end of the day, I always come back to how immensely proud I am of our show and how much it has allowed me to grow, not only as a performer but as a human being. Being a swing has given me a gratitude and a humility that wasn't nearly as palpable when I was performing in the ensemble 8 times a week. Moreover, it has trained me to forgive yourself when I make mistakes and to be better at operating calmly under pressure. Conversely, being a Dance Captain has forced me not only to zoom in on every single detail of Chris Gattelli's brilliant choreography, but also to zoom out and see the big picture. To be grateful that I am an integral part of that picture, if not always seen or heard onstage. Indeed, I know now that I am neither a "simple sponge" nor a simple swing, and that I'm right there with Sandy and SpongeBob every show as they climb the "giant volcano of doom", Mt. Humongous. It's strenuous, volatile, and at times overwhelming-- but nonetheless a once-in-a-lifetime achievement that I will forever be proud of.

 Juliane Godfrey

Juliane Godfrey

Christopher Gattelli and Choreographic Versatility

Mo Brady

by Juliane Godfrey

I earned my Equity card as a tapping chorus mouse under the dance direction of Christopher Gattelli circa 2012. And now, six years later as his Dance Captain and a swing in SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical, I stand by what I knew then: If there's one thing that sets Chris apart from other Broadway choreographers, it's his versatility. Not only does he have an extensive technical background in many styles of dance, but he also happens to be a brilliant, smart, and innovative storyteller.  Hence, it's no wonder that his body of choreographic work extends across practically every genre of musical theater: From Sunday in the Park With George to Newsies and now SpongeBob SquarePants, for which he just received his fifth Tony nomination (Oh yeah, and he's also the kindest and most humble human on earth). 

 Christopher Gattelli

Christopher Gattelli

That's why he and our fearless director Tina Landau make the perfect team to define the movement of a wacky, atypical universe like that of Bikini Bottom. Rather than focusing on pure spectacle or hiring only tall, leggy dancers who can kick their face and do a million turns, they always put the story first and assembled the most unique and multi-talented ensemble on Broadway to tell it, from hoofers and physical comedians to breakdancers and pro-skateboarders. What's more, they have fostered true collaboration and creativity with this "unicorn" ensemble in a way that I've never experienced during any other show. Our ideas are not only heard, but encouraged. Chris constantly asks his dancers what feels comfortable on their particular bodies, and is always eager to hear their ideas, even though his are generally the best in the room.

I originally auditioned for the show four years ago when it was still known as The Untitled Tina Landau Project in addition to participating in a dance lab early on in SpongeBob's development with Tina and Chris. In every room that we shared, the emphasis was always on play, on cultivating the perfect balance between simplicity and the power of imagination. Tina and Chris encouraged us in the lab to find ways to make ordinary objects extraordinary. Hence, cardboard boxes became menacing lava rocks; we strapped kitchen sponges to our hands to make superhero tableaus; and we tapped with eyeballs on our hands and feet to explore how a group of sea anemones could sell a Broadway production number. That's perhaps what makes performing Chris's choreography so distinctly satisfying--even in its final Broadway format, it's not incredibly technical, yet deceptively complex and beautiful in its execution. For instance, in the gospel song "Super Sea Star Savior" written by Yolanda Adams, a cult of "sardines" utilize tutting, an intricate sequence of finger movements and angles, to praise their newly found savior, Patrick. Chris and his associate Lou Castro found a way to make a street style of dance into a precise, unifying language that is extremely effective when 15 people "speak" that language with their hands in perfect unison.

There are so many numbers that I love in our show, but my favorite of Chris's staging is definitely Squidward's four-legged tap extravaganza "I'm Not a Loser" (written by They Might Be Giants). In it, Gavin Lee (our Tony-nominated Squidward) has the unique challenge of tapping with an extra pair of legs i.e. 8 taps in all, surrounded by hot-pink, glittery, sequined sea anemones with feathered headdresses (all designed by the fabulous David Zinn, our Tony-nominated set and costume designer). Chris always calls it our "Rockette" number since "Loser" is the only piece in our show that gives a nod to traditional musical theater and has that kind of Golden Age precision and finesse. Gavin is simply stunning as Squidward, and it's such a treat to watch the audience go nuts over his incredible footwork and comedic genius in a teal top hat and tails every night. If ever I had an idea of what Broadway looked like, it would be him beneath a giant, light-up "Squidward" sign in the middle of that gorgeous, sparkly, chorus kickline. It's incredible. 

 Juliane Godfrey

Juliane Godfrey

The Choreography of Kelly Devine: Exuberant With Intention

Mo Brady

by Mo Brady

 Kelly Devine

Kelly Devine

One can not attend the Broadway musical Escape to Margaritaville without noting its infectious energy. From its audience singalongs to the beach balls cascading over the audience’s heads, the show encourages viewers to lean in to Jimmy Buffet’s signature island vibe.

One of the most successful ways this free-spirited energy is conveyed is through the choreography, created by Tony Award nominated Kelly Devine. A veteran of Broadway’s Come From Away, Rocky and more, her choreography is always  effervescent and powerful. Whether she is staging the Russian aristocracy in Doctor Zhivago or Californian groupies in Rock of Ages, she finds a way to give dancers drive and agency through the movement.

This high-octane choreography requires a commitment from dancers to give their all to her staging. Sara Andreas, who plays a Female Tourist and others in Broadway’s Escape to Margaritaville, says, “her choreography for women is fun and sexy without objectifying. There’s a power in the sexiness of her choreography that allows the dancer to have the control.”

 Sara Andreas

Sara Andreas

Margaritaville’s staging is reminiscent her incredible work on Rock of Ages, which she created for the Broadway, London, Toronto, Las Vegas and Australian productions. Four of Margaritaville’s nine female ensemblists and swings are veterans of various incarnations of Rock of Ages: Tessa Alves, Sara Andreas, Tiffany Adeline Cole and Jennifer Rias.

Sara Andreas, who played Regina in the Las Vegas production of Rock of Ages says, “Kelly is so good at creating steps that are sexy but at the same time empowering and at times hilarious all while still furthering the story. All of that said, it’s also just really fucking fun to dance.”

Jennifer Rias, who was a dance captain for Rock of Ages on Broadway for more than two years, notes, “The women really got to exemplify the word 'fierce' in that show. I've never felt sexier onstage in my life - but that’s how you know it’s Kelly’s choreography."

In both Escape to Margaritaville and Rock of Ages, Devine’s staging finds an expert balance between celebrating women by giving them strength and power. “In the opening number, I play a character who is smitten with the lead, Tully (Paul Alexander Nolan), and has a moment of dancing with him,” says Andreas. “Kelly has choreographed it so I am in charge of the movement, I am pulling him around and if I am doing something to seduce him, it’s because that’s my tactic to get what I want out of him. I am not going to lie, it’s really fun to smack Paul around, and it’s even more fun because Paul is such a great dancer.”

Yet, for all of her exuberant energy, Devine staging doesn’t get in the way of guiding audiences through a story. Her Tony Award nomination for Come From Away was not because of the performers’ technique but their ability to move as an ensemble with intention. Andreas says, “We have one number in Margaritaville that has gone through at least five different incarnations since I’ve been a part of it, all of which were funny and good, but what we finally landed on ended up being what was best to further the show.”

 Jennifer Rias

Jennifer Rias

 

Part of the reason that these women enjoy performing Devine’s choreography is that the feel appreciated by her. Andreas notes, "She’s really good at keeping it light and fun in the room even when the stakes are really high.  She’s one of those choreographers that makes sure the people she’s working with are good people. Not good in the sense that they’re skilled (which they are) but good in the kind and caring sense.”

For Rias, making her Broadway debut as the dance captain for Rock of Ages was a daunting prospect. Devine’s compassion and encouragement was integral to her success: “I'll never forget being in my first rehearsal with the cast as their new dance captain. I was so nervous, but Kelly introduced me to the company with confidence and respect. She set me up for success. I truly believe it was a huge reason of why I loved being a dance captain and enjoyed my time in the show so much.”

In both Rock of Ages and Escape to Margaritaville, Devine celebrates her performers and encourages them to share their joy with audiences. “Her movements is the most fun dancing I've done on Broadway,” says Rias. “The choreography is actually impossible to do at anything less than 150% so it pushes you to go for it every night.”

The Legendary Linda Mugleston

Jackson Cline

BY JACKSON CLINE

 Linda Mugleston

Linda Mugleston

When Lincoln Center Theater announced that Linda Mugleston would be playing Mrs. Pearce in My Fair Lady, it immediately became my must-see show of the Broadway season.

Linda Mugleston is a true Broadway veteran and one of my all-time favorite actresses. Linda made her Broadway debut as Flossie in the 1998 revival of On the Town and has since performed in 12 Broadway musicals, including Wonderful Town, Cinderella, and Nine.

Linda is best known for working as an ensemblist and understudying some of Broadway’s greatest female roles from The Witch in Into the Woods to Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello, Dolly! Linda is currently originating her first principal role, and she does not disappoint.

What is it about Linda Mugleston that I find so captivating?

Linda brings a very grounded energy to the stage. When I watch her perform, she seems cool, collected, and confident – the type of person I can trust to tell the story. To borrow a phrase from our own Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Linda "takes care of the audience." I know whenever Linda is onstage that she is going to do her job and do it well, maintaining an extraordinary level of truth, gravitas, and artistic integrity along the way.

 Linda Mugleston (third from left) with the cast of  Cinderella

Linda Mugleston (third from left) with the cast of Cinderella

Is there anyone funnier than Linda Mugleston? Probably not. Her comedic style is unique and often involves quiet execution with great payoff. Linda can make an audience crack up from a just slight change in vocal pitch or a subtle shift in physicality. At a moment in My Fair Lady's second act, Linda has the entire audience in stitches from just the slightest movement of her eyes.

Not only is Linda Mugleston a genius actress – her voice is equally stunning. What’s that? You’ve never heard Linda Mugleston sing a solo? Go buy her album immediately – your soul will thank you. This album reveals both the power of Linda’s vocals and her versatility as a performer. Linda seamlessly transitions between musical genres, creating an album that feels cohesive and tugs at the heartstrings. Mugleston’s versatility is just as evident onstage, with roles ranging from Hildy in On the Town to Crazy Marie in Cinderella to Mrs. Primrose in On the Twentieth Century.

Perhaps most significant is the heart that Linda brings to every role she plays. This trait struck me most significantly while witnessing Linda’s performance as Mrs. Pearce in this season’s My Fair Lady. From the way she lovingly watches Eliza Doolittle celebrate her vocal breakthrough to the great care with which she places the cape on her as she is about to head to the ball, Linda’s Mrs. Pearce becomes a significant maternal figure for Eliza and the heart of Henry Higgins’ home.

 Linda Mugleston in  Sweeney Todd  at DCPA (Photo Credit: Adams Visual Communications)

Linda Mugleston in Sweeney Todd at DCPA (Photo Credit: Adams Visual Communications)

5 Debut Questions: Anastasia's Matt Wiercinski

Mo Brady

Today on our blog, we welcome Anastasia's newest ensemblist Matt Wiercinski to Broadway and learn about his journey to the Great White Way:

 Matt Wiercinski

Matt Wiercinski

1. What's your name and hometown?

Matt Wiercinski/Totowa, NJ

2. What is your role/track in your Broadway debut?

Ensemble/Prince Siegfried

3.) How did you find out you had booked the part?

I had found out I booked the part when my agent called me around 6pm on April 9th. I was with a friend of mine, and I was freaking out!

4.) What's been the most surprising thing about preparing to perform the show?

The most surprising thing about preparing for the show was the time given to learn all the material. I had 10 days to learn everything and have a put-in. You certainly can not fool around. Even when I was home, I was constantly working on choreography and music. 

5.) What are you looking forward to most about your experience on Broadway?

What I look forward to the most about this experience is getting to perform and bring joy to people every show.

Five 2018 Tony Nominees with Ensemblist Cred

Mo Brady

The day of the Tony Award nominations is always a thrilling for the New York theatre community because its a chance to see our own celebrated and championed for a wider audience. Here at The Ensemblist, we have a special place in our hearts for the nominated actors who have worked in Broadway ensembles. While leading and supporting roles are no more challenging or worthy of praise, it’s thrilling to see these ensemblists be recognized for their fantastic work this season.

Ariana DeBose

 Ariana DeBose in  Hamilton

Ariana DeBose in Hamilton

Nominated for her role as Disco Donna in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, Ariana has performed in six Broadway shows in the last seven years. Her varied roles include an ensemblist in Pippin and to originating the role of Jane in A Bronx Tale. But perhaps her most famous ensemblist role is creating the part of the Bullet in the original company of Hamilton.

Joshua Henry

 Joshua Henry in  American Idiot

Joshua Henry in American Idiot

While one of Broadway’s most in-demand leading men, Joshua made his Broadway debut as an ensemblist in In The Heights. After originating the role of Haywood Patterson in The Scottsboro Boys, he went back to his ensemblist roots in the original company of American Idiot (where he played the role of “Favorite Son.” Joshua's additional Broadway credits include Porgy and Bess, Violet, Shuffle Along and this season's Carousel.

LaChanze

 LaChanze

LaChanze

A Tony Award winner for the original production of The Color Purple, LaChanze made her Broadway debut in the original company of Dreamgirls. In the show, her track included stepout features as a Stepp Sister and Les Style performer, as well as understudying the roles of Michelle and Deena. Since then, she has appeared seven additional Broadway shows, including Once On This Island, Ragtime, If/Then and this season's Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.

Katrina Lenk

 Katrina Lenk (left) in  Once

Katrina Lenk (left) in Once

Nominated for her leading role of Dina in The Band's Visit, Katrina made her Broadway debut as an understudy in the 2010 revival The Miracle Worker. Since then, she was a replacement in the ensemble of Broadway's Once and a part of the ensemble cast in last season's Indecent.

Ashley Park

 Ashley Park in  Mamma Mia!

Ashley Park in Mamma Mia!

Nominated for her role as Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls, Ashley made her Broadway debut five years ago in the ensemble of Mamma Mia!, where she also understudied the role of Ali. Just last season, Ashley played one of the Celestes in the Jake Gyllenhaal-led Broadway revival of Sunday in the Park with George as well as understudying the leading role of Dot/Marie.

"It's One of the Strongest Broadway Has Ever Seen."

Mo Brady

This week on The Ensemblist, we celebrate the 2018 Chita Rivera Award nominees. Today we hear from Myles McHale, nominated for Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show for his role in Mean Girls.

 Myles McHale

Myles McHale

The Chita Rivera Awards are named after the legendary Chita Rivera, who once said she would crawl through broken glass just to get two lines in a Broadway musical.


The cast of Mean Girls being nominated as Outstanding Ensemble is such a thrilling honor because we didn’t have to crawl through broken glass to get a few lines. Tina Fey gave each and every one of our characters a name, from Glen Coco to Rachel Hamilton. Nell Benjamin and Jeff Richmond gave us solo spots in their beautiful music and lyrics. And Casey Nicholaw created outstanding dances and scenes where you really feel for these high school students as if you too went to North Shore High.


Outstanding Ensemble is almost a misnomer because the family that has formed out of this cast, through margaritas and malfractured hips, is one of the strongest Broadway has ever seen! We have five Newsies, a couple Bring It Ons, and ELEVEN BROADWAY DEBUTS! I am so proud to be a part of this show and even more proud to be acting, singing, and dancing towards the future. Who knows what Ensemble will mean then? Rest assured, always something good.

"It Truly Means the World."

Mo Brady

This week on The Ensemblist, we celebrate the 2018 Chita Rivera Award nominees. Today, we hear from Skye Mattox, nominated for Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show for her role in Carousel.

 Skye Mattox

Skye Mattox

There are so many emotions swirling around inside me the past twenty four hours. This nomination truly has meant the world, and I couldn’t be more grateful (or excited) about it. 

No matter what your role is like in a show, doing it eight times a week is extremely difficult. But I do my absolute best to give the same amount of energy onstage with every show. So this has been a huge affirmation for me that it is not a wasted effort. 

I cannot say enough about my cast. I’m lucky enough to get to dance alongside some of the most brilliant dancers in New York City, and I absolutely mean that. To have so many people from our cast nominated singularly, and as an ensemble is just thrilling. I’m so proud to be part of such a beautiful, hard working crew. 

A Balancing Act Podcast: Season Two

Mo Brady

A Balancing Act is a podcast created by School of Rock’s Analisa Leaming and is designed to uplift and inspire through conscious conversations all about the “Biz” and how to create balance and happiness as an artist. From owning the audition room, navigating the wins and challenges, and learning to claim that inner star power (at every step of the process), listeners will uncover how to create a big, rich life independent of agent, union status, or résumé.

You’ve learned how to break down a script, do a time step, and prepare the perfect 16-bar cut. But what happens when you’re down to the wire after four grueling callbacks and don’t get the part? Or when you’ve got eight open calls to attend in one week as well as balancing your “survival” job? Or what about when you finally book that Broadway show and it’s cancelled the night before rehearsals start? (Analisa’s debut was supposed to be the ill-fated Rebecca.) These are some of the questions the podcast explores and are essential to an artist’s sustainability.

If Season One’s theme was vulnerability, Season Two is all about becoming an empowered artist. So often actors give their power away to casting directors, agents, directors, but throughout season two actors, teachers, and more share how we can drop the victim mentality and step into our creative power. 

Sierra Boggess shares how she’s gotten through a year of several disappointments, Erica Gellerman (a finance writer) gives great advice for actors, Mark Price talks about the invaluable tool of meditation and how it can be a game changer, Jen Waldman (director and acting teacher) gives insight from the other side of the audition table, and Analisa’s very own mother makes an appearance to discuss the parent’s perspective. These are just a few highlights of the upcoming season. 

Checkout the podcast and follow on Instagram where many of the guests will be doing Live Q & A’s announced on their episodes!

"I'm Proud of Our Family."

Mo Brady

This week on The Ensemblist, we celebrate the 2018 Chita Rivera Award nominees. First up Tyler Hardwick from the cast of Once On This Island, nominated for Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show.

 Tyler Hardwick

Tyler Hardwick

I feel so blessed to be recognized with this nomination along side my fellow cast mates. This truly is an ensemble piece and I feel honored to be able to bring life to this piece every time we do it.

Camille A. Brown is amazing and really gave us so much to work with when it came to the movement and the culture of this piece. It is and was more than just an 8 count. We have created such an exciting and loving community of family on and off stage. Every person brings such unique life to the piece and it’s always organic and fresh. I’m so proud of our family to be recognized with this nomination.