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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

London Town.

Mo Brady

BY ROSS LEKITES

 Ross Lekites

Ross Lekites

It’s amazing to me how connections are made. How something you do one day can lead to something you never thought possible, or even knew existed. That’s why I find it so important to take advantage of every opportunity. Whether it be an audition you know you’re not right for, or singing at an unpaid concert on your day off. When I did the First National Tour of West Side Story, I never thought six years later I would be taking a week vacation from Frozen on Broadway to fly to London to play two sold-out performances at Royal Albert Hall.

I finished an eight-show week at the St. James, took a red eye to London and started rehearsals at Noon. I was a zombie. But singing with the John Wilson Orchestra, Mikaela Bennett, Eden Espinosa, and the entire London cast was UnFriiigggingbelievable!

The Orchestra is massive and the maestro had an ear that found even the smallest imperfections. Watching him work with such a large group of musicians on this score was really impressive.

After playing the role on tour, regionally and in concert, I had to remind myself that this version is different and new. John Wilson challenged me with different phrasing and also pushed me in the more operatic style. Stephen Whitson, our director, had a challenge to make our show make sense to the audience with a smaller cast, most of the script cut and all of the choreography cut out of our production.

That was a challenge as a performer to jump from scene to scene while playing the roller coaster of events that happened in scenes that we had cut. We also had a limited rehearsal over just five days. It felt a little like summer stock and I loved it!

The moment I will forever keep in my heart from this concert was right near the end of “Maria.” I look out at the 6,000-seat theater and lock eyes directly with my mother. She looked a little terrified, but also so happy and proud. Out of all of the people in the theatre, I see her. It was an amazing feeling.

I love what I do every night in Frozen and I love the company of people that I get to work with. I’m reminded of a line actually from my favorite musical Into The Woods: “Just remembering you had an 'and' when you’re back to 'or' makes the 'or' mean more than it did before.”

This trip reminded me of the deep passion I still have for performing. I am the type of person who is never content, and never OK just sitting still. Being able to do this concert breaks up the routine of the eight-show week. But when I come back to the St. James, I am reminded how lucky I am to be on Broadway and to be a part of the original Frozen company.

   West Side Story  at the BBC Proms

 West Side Story at the BBC Proms