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New York, NY

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. 


"It Never Failed To Give Me The Chills."

Mo Brady

The Ensemblist is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of The Lion King on Broadway by asking some of our favorite ensemblists to share their stories of performing in the iconic Broadway musical. Today, we hear from Blake Hammond, who is currently playing Nostradamus on the national tour of Something Rotten!

Blake Hammond (left with Danny Rutigliano for the Broadway 10th Anniversary Company

Blake Hammond (left with Danny Rutigliano for the Broadway 10th Anniversary Company

I'm back in Denver right now where my journey with The Lion King all started. I was the first Pumbaa on the Gazelle Company of The Lion King. Crazy!

I can remember sneaking out front every night with Josh Tower (my adult Simba) to watch the opening.  It never failed to give me the chills. Still, to this day, one of the most stunning opening numbers of any musical! Then Josh and John Plumpis (my Timon) and myself would head to makeup for what we called "Family Time". It was some of the best times of my career hanging out with those men. We would spend 20 minutes laughing, being painted and preparing to go tell our part of the magical story. Getting to bring that beautiful show to those cities for the very first time was a joyful experience. Can't believe I got that chance. Hakuna Matata!

Blake Hammond

Blake Hammond

A few years later, I got to revisit the Prideland on Broadway as the 10th Anniversary Pumbaa along side Danny Rutigliano as my Timon. And now it's ten years later.

So HAPPY 20TH to The Lion King! It's the circle, the circle of LIFE!