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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

5 Debut Questions - Meet Tug Watson

Mo Brady

Today on our blog, we welcome Cats ensemblist Tug Watson to Broadway. Learn about his journey to the Great White Way:

 Tug Watson

Tug Watson

What's your name and hometown? Tug Watson from Fredericksburg, VA.

What is your role/track in your Broadway debut?  I am currently a Swing for the vocal tracks and covering Old Deuteronomy and Gus in Cats.

How did you find out you had booked the part? So I was up for Cats when TRC was casting for the revival... I was also accepted into grad school in the MFA program at San Diego State University. I had done a ton of tours, never performed on Broadway, and was looking at all of my options for the future. Grad school and teaching were something I was really excited about, so after getting passed on for Cats, I accepted my position at SDSU. Last Christmas, Kristen Blodgette, the Music Supervisor, reached out and asked if I were free to do a few weeks singing the tenor line in the booth. The singers in the booth at Cats are cast members comprised of traditional swings, and understudies. They were down a tenor, so I readily accepted. I happened to be on the East coast and the contract did not conflict with second semester. So there I was... on Winter break working on Broadway after leaving NY behind for what I had thought would be at least 5 years. This current contract was offered to me early this past summer. Only now instead of being contracted as "Cats Chorus" I am a swing and covering OD and Gus! Such a thrill. I am here through October, back to school in November, and back to Cats in December... So, Broadway/writing a thesis :)

What’s been the most surprising thing about preparing to perform the show? Like many, Cats is the show that made me want to perform. I have loved it since childhood when we lived in England. I saw the original production in its final weeks, and subsequently toured as Munkustrap 2008-2010. So, it's a huge part of me. The most surprising thing about preparing for this isn't necessarily preparing for the show itself, but just the preparation for the "moment." What I mean by that, is that we all have different paths on how we achieve our goals. I'm 33... which isn't old, but I have been around the biz a while now. I am a terrible waiter, so the idea of survival jobs was becoming a non-option for me. I am, however, really passionate about education. So I took the next step; teaching. To my greatest surprise, leaving NY has only opened doors for me in ways I never thought possible. I got my undergrad in 2006 from Syracuse, and have been working my ass off since. I never lost faith, but I did begin to evaluate what I measured success and happiness to be. Thats been the biggest surprise, my perspective changing for the best. 

What are you looking forward to most about your experience on Broadway? I am most looking forward to seeing whats next. I would of course love a career on Broadway, but I also want to be your professor that simply loves helping you achieve your goals. I get a rush of excitement whenever I turn the corner on 52nd street and see the marquee... so the show queen in me absolutely exists. But I am just mainly happy for the moment. I'm very lucky and I just love what we do... so much. 

Listen to our podcast episode on Broadway Debuts here.