by Alessia Salimbene
Jenifer Foote 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.
Jenifer has had a wondrous theatrical career for almost 20 years. Some of her over fifteen ensemble credits include Dracula, A Wonderful Life, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, A Chorus Line, Follies and the list goes on. Fifteen shows and over thirty-two different characters either named as a swing, a dance captain, or an understudy - Jenifer has done it all.
From her Broadway debut in Annie Get Your Gun, Foote’s career began rolling and still hasn’t stopped. “I did the (Annie Get Your Gun) tour for about 6 months and then auditioned for the Broadway company of the show. The show had been running for over two years and was nearing the end of it's run when I received that once-in-a-lifetime phone call to say that they'd like me to join the Broadway company and then started the whirlwind process of being a replacement.” A little over a week later, she was stepping out onto her first Broadway stage.
Something that is too special not to share are her words about that day: “For the majority of the theatre, it was an average Tuesday evening performance of a Broadway show that had been running for a few years. But for me, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience of making a far-off dream that I had been dreaming for as long as I could remember come true. It was a magic moment of being granted a dream, a wish. I simply felt overwhelmed with gratitude. It's the continued feeling I have this many, many years later each and every time I get to walk through a Broadway stage door.”
Foote was nominated for the Ensemblist Award by her former costar Linda Mugleston. “Jen is one of the most talented folks I have ever come across in this biz,” notes Mugleston. “She actually is more than a triple threat. She is incredibly versatile: a fantastic actor, singer, dancer. She is calm, focused, funny, kind, specific and dependable. She’s a performer who can do whatever is needed at the drop of a hat. It has been an honor to share the stage with such a high caliber performer and person as Jen Foote.”
People tend to have the perception that ensemble members want to be more than just the ensemble, rings false for a lot of people, like Foote, “I feel like it's often assumed that being in the ensemble is a ‘stepping stone’ in my journey and that I must feel frustrated or less than as an ensemble member. To me, working on Broadway is my continued goal. I love theatre and I specifically love working in New York City within the walls of those coveted Broadway houses. It is a magical privilege to me.”
Her magical privilege as she calls it hasn’t stopped there. “My sights are set on Tootsie right now, and I am loving every moment of it.” Her dedication to each character ensemble or principal is remarkable, “I approach each character I've played as a member of the ensemble the exact same way I approach the times when I've played principal roles. I am becoming and creating a character that serves the story of the show. Each have been inherently unique and a joy to create within the varied worlds of each.”