The Ensemblist co-creator Mo Brady dives into the demographics of performers from the 2016-2017 Broadway season.
In my last blog post, I shared some information about the 878 actors working as Broadway ensemblists between July 2016 and June 2017. As I said before, many of those performers worked on multiple Broadway productions during the season. But exactly how many? And in which shows? Let's dive in.
76 actors worked on more than one Broadway show as an ensemblist this year. 47 of that 76 are men (or people that publicly present as cisgender men). Most of those actors originated tracks: 62 of those actors were original cast members in at least one of the productions, which means 14 replaced in both productions.
It should come to no surprise to anybody that pays attention to cast announcements that 18 of the 76 double-contract ensemblists are in Hello, Dolly! I mean, there's only ensemblist in the company making his Broadway debut (Hello, Michael Hartung! We see you!)
Even more impressively, three actors worked as ensemblists in three Broadway musicals this year: Kevin Worley (podcast guest and recipient of a 2016 Ensemblist Award), Jenifer Foote (podcast guest from our most recent season) and Michael Fatica (who is sure to be a future podcast guest, considering his track record.
Special shout out to Will Burton and Tally Sessions, who each worked on three Broadway shows this year, but two of them as an ensemblist and one of them as a principal. (Although Will plays Ambrose Kemper, who has eight lines in the show - I should know, I played that part in the regions a decade ago - and Tally was a standby in Falsettos.)
We've said time and again on the podcast that swings are the most valuable members of our company. Turns out, the actors that swing are also some of the most frequently hired: 19 out of 76 double-employed ensemblists were a swing in at least one of the shows. Eight were swings in at least two shows: Mindy Wallace, Christopher Messina, Dustin Layton, Robin Masella, Jenifer Foote, Elizabeth Earley, Celia Mei Rubin and Barry Busby.
Finally, let's look at where the 76 actors came from. Is there some show that employed more currently working ensemblists than others? (Yes, there is.) While alumni of Finding Neverland, Matilda and Something Rotten! have been busy this season, it's An American in Paris that has an impressive 12 of its former cast members currently treading the boards in other shows.
However, let's not forget actors who mounted more than one Broadway show this year: Eight alumni of Holiday Inn found new work as Broadway ensemblists this spring, while four Cats moved on to another show. Paloma Garcia-Lee was the one cast member of ...The Great Comet who moved onto another Broadway show (going across 46th Street to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.)