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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. 

Blog

"The Ensemble is the Heartbeat of Any Show."

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. First up, we hear from L. Steven Taylor, who has spent over a decade in the production and currently plays Mufasa on Broadway.

L. Steven Taylor as Mufasa in The Lion King

L. Steven Taylor as Mufasa in The Lion King

I stood there atop the hill made of brown skin and earth tones. The bright lights seemed to accentuate a flicker at the tips of grass that was worn atop their heads. A smile registered in my heart as I swayed in unison and sang in harmony with my new family during my Broadway debut in the ensemble of The Lion King.

That was 2005. I joined the company as a temporary replacement in the ensemble and Mufasa understudy. I had only a shortened amount of time to learn the show and most of that was spent away from my fellow ensemble members, but the welcome reception that I received when I joined the company immediately felt like I was returning home.

The ensemble of any show is usually the heartbeat. That is particularly true with this show - literally some of the rhythms that we sing are meant to give the feel of a heart beating. Aside from that, though, is how we became each other's lifelines offstage - supporting one another through deaths and births and illness and success.

L. Steven Taylor

L. Steven Taylor

I left to play Mufasa on the tour for a couple of years and recently rejoined the Broadway company to play the role here. There is no way that transition would've happened without the support of my cast - especially the ensemble, giving me words of encouragement, Blunt truths and keeping it real with me along the way.

The great thing about The Lion King is that it is an ensemble-driven show. So even as a principal, you feel part of that heartbeat that starts with Wildebeest #2 or Gazelle #4. (Wildebeest #2 was meeee!)

I have made it a point to continue my offstage social cues from my ensemble track from back in 2005. It was a way we kept each other grounded then and that still holds true for the now. I'll never forget where I came from or that this show does not exist without its heartbeat: The Ensemble.

L. Steven Taylor (Wildebeest #2, Grasshead #5)