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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. 


5 Debut Questions: Beautiful's Gabrielle Elisabeth

Mo Brady

Today on our blog, we welcome Beautiful: The Carole King Musical's ensemblist Gabrielle Elisabeth to Broadway and learn about her journey to the Great White Way:

1. What's your name and hometown?

Gabrielle Elisabeth

Gabrielle Elisabeth

My name is Gabrielle Elisabeth, and I am from Chicago, IL and Atlanta, Georgia. I spent an equal amount of time in both places and consider both to be my home. I frequently say I'm a midwestern girl with a southern sensibility.

2. What is your role/track in your Broadway debut?

I am the character Little Eva in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, as well as a Shirelle.

3. How did you find out you had booked the part?

When I found out I booked Beautiful, I had actually just moved to California. I had moved in January but got an email a few weeks later saying I had an appointment for Beautiful, as well as another big musical that's currently running. I was reluctant to fly across the country for the auditions but my family encouraged me to do it. I booked a flight for Sunday nigh  and arrived Monday morning at 6 am ( the day of the audition). Of course I got no sleep on the flight, so upon arriving I was exhausted!

My audition for Beautiful was at 11 am, so I figured I would try and get a little bit of sleep before. I dropped my bags at a friend's place, took an hour nap and headed straight to Ripley-Grier. Still pretty delusional, I sang my heart out for the creative team and was told I had a callback that evening to dance for them. I did the dance call with shoes I borrowed from another friend that were two sizes too big, with tissue stuffed in the front so that they wouldn't slide off of my feet and a smile as big as I could muster in my sleep-deprived state. Somehow it worked, because I received another callback the following morning. I danced and sang for the members of the creative team one more time and then headed back to California.

After being back in LA for less than two days, I was awakened with a call from my agent saying, "I have good news." I was in shock! tears began to stream down my face uncontrollably. Then he told me I needed to be on a flight back that night! So I pulled it together (after calling my mother of course) and started my preparation to move back to NYC. 

4. What's been the most surprising thing about preparing to perform the show?

I would have to say how everything I have done up until this point has prepared me for this moment. I've worked on a lot of shows, taken dozens of classes, read countless books on acting and self-care, and at the time it just felt like I was just twiddling my thumbs. But in hindsight, I now see that I was planting seeds. I thought I was so ready back then. I wasn't. It took all of those experiences and disappointments to prepare me for this exact moment and I wouldn't change it for the world.

5. What are you looking forward to most about your experience on Broadway?

I am fortunate to be working with some truly talented and KIND people, emphasis on KIND. I treat each moment in my life as a time to improve so that I can inspire and share what makes my heart beat to the very best of my ability. I can't wait to see how I grow from here.

Gabrielle Elisabeth

Gabrielle Elisabeth