by Alessia Salimbene
On stages across the country, 2018 was a banner year for ensemblist Kate Bailey. After completing 17 months on the road with the national tour of Something Rotten!, she made her Broadway debut in the ensemble of Frozen. To top 2018 off in the sweetest way, Bailey just played Kristine in New York City Center’s Gala Presentation of A Chorus Line.
This month, The Ensemblist named Bailey on their “Ones to Watch” list for 2018. “Earlier this month, we celebrated some of Broadway’s most venerated ensemble actors with the 5th Annual Ensemblist Awards,” says The Ensemblist creator Mo Brady. “However, we wanted to find a way to celebrate and champion the exciting new talent hitting Broadway stages this year, as well. That’s how our new ‘Ones to Watch’ list was born.”
While she has had a remarkable year of performance opportunities, Bailey is by no means new to New York City. She moved to the city in 2012 after graduating from Brigham Young University in Utah. Since then, she earned her Equity card performing in the ensembles of Oliver! and Grease at Paper Mill Playhouse. However, Something Rotten! marked her first experience on a major national tour.
Starting her year on tour, Bailey learnt much about performing out on the road: “It really taught me about the performer I wanted to be.” Furthermore, he experience performing across the country helped her build the confidence to make her Broadway debut in Frozen. “When I went in to Frozen, I think I felt more secure than I had before I went on the road, and I think that affected my performance and my ability to step into something new. There’s something to be said about 17 months on tour in a mentally and physically demanding show like Something Rotten!”
When Something Rotten! closed in May, Bailey had time to look back on those months and talked about how her friends and family got her through it. “I am also lucky to have lots of supportive friends and family,” Katherine remarks that there is one person who made it all worth it, “I’d have to say I could not have done it without my dad. He passed away in 2017 while I was on the road, but his strong spirit and perspective are what I honestly believe helped get me to where I am today.”
Over the summer, Bailey made her Broadway debut in Frozen at the St. James Theatre. “My first show at Frozen was a dream come true. I tried not to put too much pressure on it, but it exceeded my expectations of what I thought that night would feel like. A night I will always remember.”
A few months later, Bailey got the call that she would be in New York City Center’s A Chorus Line. “When I got the call about Kristine in A Chorus Line, first I screamed in the middle of the street I was crossing, then I started to cry.” This was a role that she was ready for and the cherry on her magnificent year. “I had been wanting to be a part of this show for a long time… It was the first cast recording that I owned on CD and the first Broadway show I ever saw.”
As for the future, Bailey is optimistic about foraging her own path. “I think embracing that your journey to Broadway is going to be different than anyone else is a very important thing to try and grasp early on. I am honestly so grateful for the experiences that I have been so blessed to have, and even more grateful to be a part of such an amazing community of artists.”