by Marialena Rago
“While it’s a challenge, getting to create many different roles is fun. I love thinking about how the different characters will walk or talk or even dance. In one show, I can play a TV news reporter, a police officer, a slick nightclub emcee and and lawyer. Just looking at those four characters alone, you can see the opportunities for different accents, attitudes and postures.”
Aaron Kaburick, who recently closed the acclaimed Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, is one of the 2018 Ensemblist Awards. Since 2014, The Ensemblist has celebrated talented artists that embody the ensemblist spirit with this honor. With the artistic talents of Justin “Squigs” Robertson and The Lights of Broadway Show Cards, The Ensemblist Awards are presented each winter to actors who have shown dedication, courage and kindness in their careers on Broadway.
While Hello, Dolly! was Kaburick’s third Broadway musical, his journey to being an actor was not a straight shot. While at Boston University, he studied Economics with the idea that he would work on the business side of ‘show business.’ “My last couple of college summers, I had been interning in the production office at The Muny,” says Kaburick. “I drove actors to and from housing, got coffee, made copies, formatted scripts, designed program title pages, organized anything and everything.”
After he graduated, Executive Producer Paul Blake hired him to be the Associate Producer at The Muny: “I helped with all of the casting, as well as negotiations. I worked on all the budgets for the individual shows. I always referred to myself as a troubleshooter. Every artistic decision went through our office and I helped facilitate all of that.”
Though Aaron loved the ‘business side of show business,’ he missed performing. When he was in New York, he would work on the business end in the day and take voice and dance lessons at night. “My big break came when I got cast in the national tour of The Full Monty. I never dreamed I would actually book the job.” After being behind the desk for for four years, he toured with The Full Monty and Annie before making his Broadway debut in Billy Elliot.
Aaron takes pride in being an ensemble member. “We help each other and support each other, whether it's in a rehearsal process while learning new things or in a long-run while juggling life. We have each other's backs. It's like having another family in life. There's something that is so satisfying and rewarding about being a part of team that aims to be better together.”
That pride and camaraderie is palpable to Kaburick’s coworkers. Beth Johnson Nicely, a 2017 Ensemblist Award winner who nominated him for this year’s honor, says, “Aaron is the most positive person anyone can have in any show. He’s full of light and love on and offstage. He truly enjoys being in the ensemble and you can see that in any performance he gives.”
Even the hard parts of being in the ensemble don’t faze him. “Personally, I love it when I'm an ensemble member who gets to play many different roles. It is fun for me to switch hats throughout the evening. I've also been fortunate in my career to understudy some very fun roles. As a result, my job rarely gets stale or boring because one night I might be singing and dancing behind Bette Midler, and the next night doing a scene with her!”
“Aaron gives 150% to every performance no matter what he’s doing onstage,” continues Nicely. “You can look at him onstage at any moment in a show and know that his heart is in it. That’s a true ensemblist. He’s always a team player and one of those performers that you always feel is your cheerleader.”
“I remember when I first moved to New York, I simply dreamed of doing a national tour as the second spear-holder from the left,” remembers Kaburick. “I'm truly grateful every time I open the stage door to go to work. I love what I do. Heck, I get to play dress-up for a living. I win!”