by Alessia Salimbene
Christian Dante White is one of the 2018 Ensemblist Award winners. 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.
From White’s Broadway debut in The Scottsboro Boys to his work today in the creation of Broadway Legacy, he has carved out a special place amongst an incredible group of people. With four Broadway shows under his belt (The Scottsboro Boys, The Book of Mormon, Shuffle Along, and Hello, Dolly!) and countless roles performed, Christian Dante White is a seasoned professional dedicated to his work.
White explains the camaraderie of the ensemble in The Scottsboro Boys and how making his debut felt natural. “When I made my debut, I felt secure in the show because we’d worked so hard as an ensemble of actors on the piece. It was so ingrained in our bones we were ready to share and honor the men within this story.” He focuses so much on the ensemble as a whole when talking about his debut: “There were tons of Broadway debuts in our show. I remember taking it in first bow, just being grateful that my dream had come true being on Broadway. Even more special that I made a debut that was in an important piece about my history.”
Christian was nominated for an Ensemblist Award by last year’s recipient John Eric Parker of The Book of Mormon. “Christian and I worked together the first time in The Wiz at City Center,” remembers Parker. “Since that time, we’ve become great friends and have worked together on many projects supporting each others artistic endeavors. Christian is a multi-talented, multi-faceted artist with an incredible work ethic and sprit. He’s a sponge in the company of showbiz veterans and is dedicated to leaving his stamp on the business of show by making it better for all that come behind him.”
White discussed the common misconceptions people have about ensemble members, “Some people look to being in the ensemble as being ‘less than’ but I know that I've worked with some insanely talented ensemble members that I believe to be superheroes.” His statement constantly proves correct. In Shuffle Along in particular, led by George C. Wolfe, made sure that everyone had a character name with a specific intention and background. If you were onstage, you were in the scene being specific. There was no room for ‘being general.’ Everything was precise, clear and detailed.”
Christian started a wonderful company called Broadway Legacy. “Broadway Legacy was created to celebrate African Americans in theater. I was extremely frustrated with lack of attention on POC in this business and I decided to do something about it,” he explains. “The best part about the project was experiencing the fellowship and celebration of coming together to be photographed.”
Christian Dante White is a wonderful force with a future he welcomes openly. “I don't have my sights set on a specific show. I always let the universe led me to where I need to be and see what happens. I just work hard and let whats meant to be come to me.” His passion for being in the ensemble is contagious and radiates in his favorite parts, “I love the moments offstage being in an ensemble. The moments the audience will never see.”