As this Broadway season comes to a close, The Ensemblist co-creator and host Mo Brady shares his love for two very different, but equally charming performances by ensemblists this Spring.
"At first glance, Stephanie Gibson is a chorine right out of the history books. Her stunning looks and winning smile are just as impressive as her emotive dancing. When she moves, her long limbs extend seemingly miles away from her torso in a beautifully expressive way."
"But what sets Stephanie apart from many of her talented colleagues is her additional sense of humor. She is a first-rate comedienne, capable of making an audience erupt with laughter."
"In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Stephanie spends the first act playing a delightfully batty television reporter named Cherry Sundae. While she has few lines of dialogue to deliver, she makes a memorable impression with her incredible sense of comedic timing. She also employs a physicality in the role that - in the wrong hands - could be labeled as 'overacting'. However, in Stephanie's capable hands, the characterization lands perfectly with the audience."
"A veteran of four Broadway shows, Stephanie has showed this kind of range at earlier points in her career. When I met her in the ensemble of The Addams Family, her lightness of spirit made her performance in the ensemble effervescent. However, she was also remarkably grounded and poised when she understudied the role of Morticia Addams opposite Nathan Lane and Roger Rees. In Cinderella, she was a member of the original ensemble, but became the first replacement for the comedic stepsister Gabrielle."
(You can watch Stephanie in action with the cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the video below, starting at about 1:24.)
"Paul Whitty was just one of the ten onstage ensemblists populating Paris in this season's Amélie, A New Musical. Each one of the show's featured players could be singled out for their varied, but symbiotic work. While I'm sure that every person who saw the show had their own standout ensemblist, it was Paul who I couldn't keep my eyes off of."
"Along with the rest of the ensemble, Paul spent the show floating in and out of characters. Among the roles Paul played in Amélie was Fluffy, the title character's pet goldfish who is forced to be dumped into a canal. Played by Paul for only about sixty seconds, his characterization of this fish was filled with truth and reliability. This moment stuck with me as one of the most enchanting and memorable ensemble performances of the season."
"Profiled in the New York Times, the hat puppet Paul wore was both "beautiful and, in a good way, stupid" (as described by costume designer David Zinn). When worn by Paul, its intricate whimsy is a perfect encapsulation of the musical's spirit."
"While I wasn't able to find video of Paul as Fluffy online, you can spot him in this performance on 'Today' starting around 2:30 (He's also just to the right of Phillipa Soo in the video thumbnail below)."
Hear more thoughts on the Broadway season on our 2017 Spring Roundtable episode, going live on Sunday, May 28.