by Marialena Rago
“Being in a Broadway ensemble requires long, hard and consistent dedication. It is truly a challenging task that requires a physique much like an athlete. It takes hours of rehearsal, working out our bodies to then perform at a highly intense level for a period of time over and over again.”
For a young performer, Kevin Csolak’s resume is long and impressive. He has worked with Justin Timberlake in the Super Bowl 52 Halftime Show and has had guest starring roles on Jessica Jones, The Mysteries of Laura and many more.
This month, The Ensemblist named Csolak 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.”
Csolak has been performing on screen and stage since he was ten years old. He is currently in the stage version of the hit movie Mean Girls as an ensemble member and understudy for Aaron Samuels.
He got started at a young age because of his mom. “My mother owns a dancing school in New Jersey that I practically was raised in,” Csolak says. “At a young age, my mom recognized the passion I had for the arts and steered me right into dance, acting and singing classes.” After that, he dove into auditioning for Broadway and booked How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the Hilton Theatre, now The Lyric Theatre. “My mom instilled her guidance, inspiration and work ethic in me, which brought me to where I am today.”
He has also gotten a lot of guidance from his director Casey Nicholaw and other performing professionals. “From my mom, to Casey and everyone [in between], they always reiterate in one way or another to love the process of what we do. Love the audition process, rehearsals and performing of course.”
It’s not that hard to love being in Mean Girls. The hit musical has seen so many famous faces come through the doors of the August Wilson Theatre, and the cast seems to have a blast with each other. But taking on an iconic movie and transferring it to stage can be a daunting task. Csolak had no doubt that the show would be a hit. “I don’t think I was ever nervous because I knew our musical was in the best of hands: Tina Fey and Casey Nicholaw. I mean with those two at the helm of the ship, I didn’t think we could do wrong! The story, though told through comedy, has such a great message, I truly had no doubt that the show would shine through in a similar but different light as the movie.”
Mean Girls really shows the skills of its ensemble members, like Csolak, who has an incredible dance background stemming from his childhood. That was really put to the test in the show. “It’s a workout to finish a dance number, run off stage, change in 30 seconds to turn around and move a set piece on stage again. Then - you guessed it - go into another dance break! It’s absurd and I love it. I truly have a blast being in a show that keeps the ensemble on their toes every night.”
Another great part of being a performer for Csolak is seeing the smiles in the audience. “They’re a constant reminder to why we do this. I think the why can seem clouded sometimes of being an actor, but let’s break it down. We perform to change the emotions and lives of the people who willingly stare at us for two hours! We hope to rip them from their lives, make them forget or remember and leave with a smile.”
Csolak’s work ethic and love for performing is what makes him one to watch in 2019. As for what is next for him, Csolak doesn’t know if it’s a long vacation or another show. “Truthfully, you never know as a performer. I try to keep an open mind and never confine myself to a particular form of my craft.”