by Mo Brady
This Spring looks to be a relatively quiet one on the Great White Way. Only six musicals are scheduled to open between now and the end of this Broadway season. But within the casts of those four new musicals and two revivals are 136 actors creating roles as ensemblists.
44 amazing ensemblists are making their Broadway debut this Spring, with an incredible 13 of them in the cast of Mean Girls. (The show with the fewest number of Ensemblist debuts? Frozen, with 3.) An impressive 34 actors in these musicals are coming from another Broadway show this season. And a remarkable 20 of them have been in a Broadway show for every season since 2014.
Two have been in three different Broadway shows this season: Jennifer Rias of Escape to Margaritaville was in the original company of War Paint before returning to a show she helped create: Aladdin. Jacob Keith Watson spent the summer and fall bouncing between The Phantom of the Opera and Hello, Dolly! before joining the company of Carousel.
Who are this spring's most seasoned ensemblists? William Youmans (Wicked’s original Dr. Dillamond) made his debut as an ensemblist in The Little Foxes back in 1981. And although William is the only actor who can claim having spent more than three decades on Broadway, Adam Grupper made his debut as a replacement Steward in Into the Woods in the late 1980s. Four other actors who made their Broadway debuts more than two decades ago include Rosena M. Hill Jackson (in Ragtime), Liz McCartney (in Les Miserables), John Treacy Egan (an original cast ensemblist in Jekyll & Hyde) and Michael Halling (in The Scarlet Pimpernel.)
Looking to place your bets on who this spring's Gypsy Robe recipients will be? Look to My Fair Lady’s Cameron Adams to rack up her fourth robe. She won her first robe back in 2012 for Nice Work If You Can Get It. While William Youmans and Rosena M. Hill Jackson have been in more Broadway shows, look to Jess LeProtto in the cast of Carousel to win the robe for the second time. In the cast of Frozen, Jeremy Davis is poised to collect the robe for a third time.
But perhaps the most exciting Gypsy Robe ceremonies while be the three where actors will receive the Gypsy Robe for the first time: Matt Allen (for Escape to Margaritaville) and Afra Hines for Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. The one Gypsy Robe that’s up for grabs? Mean Girls, where Jonalyn Saxer and Brendon Stimson are both opening their fifth Broadway show.