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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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"It is only right to honor the cast as a whole."

Mo Brady

As the theatre community finds itself in the middle of Awards Season, The Ensemblist is often asked about the possibility of a Tony Award for Best Ensemble. So we wanted to hear from ensemblists about what Tony Award for ensembles would mean to THEM. First up, podcast guest and frequent blogger Christopher Gurr (Cats, Tuck Everlasting).

Christopher Gurr

Christopher Gurr

"I squirm under this question. Here’s why:"

"Different productions use ensembles in different ways. Some use them as the world or container or context of the main story. Some as a group protagonist. Some, let’s be frank, as wallpaper or set decoration (or set movers) behind the main story or stars. Some shows don’t have them at all." 

"If I were tasked with helping the Tony awards craft a way of honoring the ensemble element on Broadway I’d pitch two things. The first, radical, the second, semantic."

"1) Ditch the individual performance awards entirely and only give awards for Best Performance by a Cast in a Musical and Best Performance by a Cast in a Play."

"2) Create an award for Best Use of an Ensemble (Musical and Play)."

"Option one appeals to my understanding of and commitment to theatre-making as a team sport. It is my preferred option. Option two might, by rewarding excellence in storytelling through ensemble, encourage excellence in storytelling through ensemble." 

"Truth? I’ve got to say, I’m not sure I’d trust the Tony voters with option two."

"I’d like to retract option two. I’m going with my radical pitch: Best Performance by a Cast, full stop."

"To truly, truly honor how the actors’ contribution to a production works, it is only right to honor the cast as a whole." 

"This will never happen. It is not how Broadway thinks and works. It is not how the American mind thinks and works." 

"Disagree? I’m available for pints and discussion most nights after the curtain falls at the Neil Simon. Give me a shout."

 - Christopher Gurr

Read more musings from Christopher on his website.