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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

Five Ensemblists Crushing It As Broadway Leads

Mo Brady

by Mo Brady

While we here at The Ensemblist love a career ensemble performer, that doesn’t mean we don’t love ensemblists who have made it big on Broadway as well. The capacity to play both leading and ensemble roles just proves that you contain multitudes, seamlessly transitioning in and out of the spotlight depending on the needs of the part. Here are five of our favorite ensemblists who are tackling leading roles on the Great White Way this season.

 Ariana DeBose in  Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

Ariana DeBose in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

Ariana DeBose

Ari is queen of transitioning in and out of the ensemble. After having her Broadway debut as Nautica in Bring It On The Musical, she played ensemble roles in Motown and Hamilton before originating the leading role of Jane in A Bronx Tale The Musical. Watch for her back on Broadway this spring as she plays music icon Donna Summer at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

 Ali Ewoldt in  The Phantom of the Opera

Ali Ewoldt in The Phantom of the Opera

Ali Ewoldt

While she made her Broadway debut playing Cosette in the first revival of Les Miserables, her second Broadway appearance was in the ensemble of the Lincoln Center Theatre’s revival The King and I where she covered Tuptim. Since the summer of 2016, she has been playing Christine Daaé in the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera. Not only is she playing the lead female role in Broadway’s longest-running show, she’s the first Asian-American actress to do so. Talk about a trailblazer!

 Adam Kaplan in  A Bronx Tale The Musical

Adam Kaplan in A Bronx Tale The Musical

Adam Kaplan

Speaking of A Bronx Tale, the show’s current leading man made his Broadway debut as a replacement ensemblist in Newsies, where he played the role of Morris Delancey, while covering both Jack Kelly and Davey. In between Broadway shows, he played leading man Charlie Price in the national tour of Kinky Boots.  

 Analisa Leaming in  School of Rock - The Musical

Analisa Leaming in School of Rock - The Musical

Analisa Leaming

Here’s a woman making a smash on Broadway. In less than three years, she has performed in four Broadway musicals. In each, she has shone as an ensemblist while covering some of Broadway’s most iconic leading roles, from Anna Leonowens in The King and I to Irene Molloy in Hello, Dolly! Now she’s heading up the company of School of Rock - The Musical as Principal Rosalie Mullins.

 Anastacia McCleskey

Anastacia McCleskey

Anastacia McCleskey

Currently covering the role of Becky and playing the hilarious Nurse Norma in Waitress, Stacy has bounced back and forth from ensemble to principal roles for more than a decade. Memorably leading the cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert as one of the delectable divas, she’s also played the Rafiki-inspired Mrs. Brown in The Book of Mormon and one of Violet’s electrifying gospel choir vocalists.