by Marialena Rago
We love ensemble members, but we also love it when those members get to go on to leading roles! Transitioning from ensemble to lead shows how well these actors can adapt when needed. Here are five ensemble members who have made the switch.
Justin Collette – Dewey in School of Rock
Justin made his Broadway debut as an ensemble member and understudy for the rockin’ prep school teacher in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock. Now, he has taken on the role-full time! Before he was shredding the guitar eight times a week, Justin was a writer and is still a voiceover actor who can be heard in Netflix’s upcoming Cupcake and Dino: General Service.
Christiani Pitts – Ann Darrow in King Kong
Christiani is making history as the first woman of color to play Ann Darrow in the new musical King Kong. She made her Broadway debut in A Bronx Tale as an ensemble member and then replaced fellow ensemblist Ariana DeBose as Jane.
Ben Crawford - Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera
Ben has jumped in and out of leading roles and ensemble positions in six Broadway shows. This time, he takes on the iconic role of the Phantom in Broadway’s longest running show. He has previously taken on comedic roles like Mr. Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Shrek in Shrek: The Musical, and understudied both Bruce Granit and Max Jacobs in On the Twentieth Century.
Constantine Germanacos – Gleb in Anastasia
Constantine has been in Anastasia since the show opened in many different ensemble tracks, like Tsar Nicholas II and Count Ipolitov, but now he has taken a principal role as Gleb. He was previously the understudy for the character and before stepping into St. Petersburg, Constantine was an ensemble member in the recent revival of Evita.
Syndee Winters – Nala in The Lion King
This is Syndee’s second time as Nala, but in between her two stays at the Pridelands, Syndee could be seen as an ensemble member of Motown: The Musical and Pippin. She was also a standby and replacement for all three of The Schuyler Sisters in Hamilton. Besides the stage, Syndee can be seen in Jesus Christ Superstar: Live with EGOT recipient John Legend.