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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. 

Blog

"It Gives Me Goosebumps."

Mo Brady

by Jonalyn Saxer

It’s Tony time! And it is truly everything. Every single day since the nominations have come out has been exciting. The press, the extra rehearsals, and the general atmosphere in the theater has been insane! A day that for so long seemed so far away is now suddenly here.

 Jonalyn Saxer in  Mean Girls

Jonalyn Saxer in Mean Girls

The day after the nominations came out we couldn’t even think about the Tonys, because we were having our rehearsal for our performance on the Today Show. But that rehearsal gave us the opportunity to come together as a cast and have fun with each other! We then had a short meeting onstage before the show with Casey to: 1. Celebrate, and 2. Talk about all the incredible things that would be happening. We were going to be performing on the Tonys! Yet we still didn’t know what number we would do and who would be involved.

A couple weeks went by, and rumors started to fly. Then the day came, and not only were we told what number we would be performing, but that every single person in the company would be a part of it. And that is truly the most magical thing about our show and this process. Our swings and standby actually started to tear up when they heard the news. So often we can get looked over as cast members onstage and off. We are part of the machine that makes the show work, and we will do whatever is required of us to make it the best show. But, in a world where everything costs money, some things are up in the air. Our team and producers said, “We do this together and we do it as a family.” Sunday, June 10 will not only be about the wonderful season of theater this year and a great chance to show the world some of our show, but to spend a whole day as a complete cast celebrating this incredible thing we’ve created.

We had one day of rehearsal to prep for the Tonys, and we won’t rehearse again until Thursday before the Tonys. As the day creeps up, we’re getting nervous and sometimes asking, “wait, do I remember what I did?!” It was a mad dash to get the number together and figure it out. Luckily, we had been through such a crazy preview and out of town process, it almost felt like we had gone back to normal. Our cast has a very “I can make that work” attitude that really serves us in these situations. Sometimes we aren’t even close to our actual positions in the show, but it doesn’t matter! We have put together a one of a kind performance that truly shows off our show for what it is and what we can do. We have to deal with a time limit, so there are some parts that are a little faster than normal, but it just adds to the energy of the whole experience! We are a big huge musical full of different characters, and that is what we are representing on the stage. Creating a number for the Tonys is such a specific challenge. We have a chance to show the whole nation, the whole WORLD, some of what is happening at the August Wilson every night.

It gives me goosebumps to think about how I used to watch the Tonys growing up in Los Angeles. In high school I would spend hours looking up number after number on YouTube. Now I’m going to be on that stage. Some teen is going to watch and memorize what we do in our Tony number by watching it over and over again, just as I did. This is a moment when your show becomes immortal. Not only am I excited to hopefully inspire some young performer out there, but I will forever have this to look back on and remember. It seems almost too good to be true. I love what I do. I get to live my dreams eight times a week on a Broadway stage. To get to have this experience in addition is like a gold-plated cherry on top. As an ensemble member, I would love our show to win all the awards. However, even if we don’t, this experience is worth every second of blood, sweat, and tears I have put into doing what I love, no matter what.

 Jonalyn Saxer (second from right) and the cast of  Mean Girls

Jonalyn Saxer (second from right) and the cast of Mean Girls