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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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Jacqueline B. Arnold - Ensemblist Award Recipient

Mo Brady

by Marialena Rago

Jacqueline B. Arnold

Jacqueline B. Arnold

“Leads need ensemble and vice versa. We are all the ensemble. We bow together at the end for a reason. The story can’t be told without all parts working in sync.”

Jacqueline B. Arnold 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.

Arnold was recently in the pre-Broadway run of Moulin Rouge! The Musical in Boston. The show shows off ensemble members through crazy dance numbers and belting out songs like “Lady Marmalade.” Arnold told us how she stays in tip-top shape for a show that is both physically and vocally challenging. “Moulin Rouge has been an experience like no other,” she says. “Physically speaking, it’s a lot of routine and diligence in warming up. I definitely do a 30-40 min. vocal warm-up every day and about 40-50 min. physical warm-up.” 

Arnold got started in show business at a young age. At 13, she was a demo singer in Los Angeles while also going to school to study dance and drama. “It wasn’t until I was in college and I auditioned for the musical, that I realized that I could do all three avenues and get paid relatively well. With that, I was in for the long haul. The live arts have always been my thing. Holding the attention of an audience is powerful and hard.”

Jacqueline B. Arnold in  Shrek

Jacqueline B. Arnold in Shrek

Being a part of the ensemble has “absolutely” made Arnold a better performer: “Every story needs detail and background in order for it to come alive. That is what the work of the ensemble is. To be able to create a lifelike experience for the audience without drawing too much focus. Every story/situation needs it.”

This ensemble work is the nuance work that really brings a story to life. Arnold says that getting to build relationships onstage is her favorite part of being in the ensemble. “Oftentimes, there are awesome stories and connections that are forming in the ensemble. Details that help the life of the show.”

Oftentimes, audiences don’t see the hard work ensemble members put into their characters and into the work they do. Arnold says that audience members should know that ensemble members are a part of the rehearsal process for the same amount of time as the leads. “The work of the ensemble is to be valued and celebrated just as much as the leading players. Especially in a musical. Try to imagine a show without the ensemble. Often the favorite parts of a musical are the big ensemble-filled numbers and scenes.” 

As for that elusive Tony Award, Arnold believes adding a category for ensemble members would draw attention to the ensemble. “I think people can disregard the ensemble and they shouldn’t. Perhaps the Tony would make people pay better and more attention to the ‘background’.”

Jacqueline B. Arnold (left) with the cast of  Moulin Rouge

Jacqueline B. Arnold (left) with the cast of Moulin Rouge