Place your bets in your Legacy Robe recipient pools (is that not a thing?) with our advance look at the five incredible ensembles hitting Broadway this spring.
Kiss Me, Kate
Opening Night: March 14, 2019
Talk about a cast of ensemblist all-stars. These 15 actors have a combined 74 Broadway credits to their names. Many of them are veterans of Warren Carlyle’s revivals: Rick Faugno and Erica Mansfield both danced for him in On The 20th Century, while both Will Burton and Sarah Meahl performed in Hello, Dolly!
Relative Broadway newcomer Christine Cornish Smith will be in her third original revival cast in three seasons, after playing Bombalurina in Cats and performing in Lincoln Center’s My Fair Lady. Both Tanya Haglund and Justin Prescott join the company after opening another musical - Head Over Heels - on Broadway earlier this season.
Kiss Me, Kate will be Erica Mansfield’s ninth Broadway show, but look to Ron Todorowski to walk away with the Legacy Robe for this - his tenth - show on the Main Stem.
Ain’t Too Proud - The Life and Times of The Temptations
Opening Night: March 21, 2019
While they are the show’s stars, many of the leading men of Ain’t Too Proud have serious ensemblist cred. Portraying David Ruffin, Ephraim Sykes was the original George Eacker in Hamilton, in addition to performing in the ensembles of The Little Mermaid, Memphis, Newsies and Motown. After performing in five Broadway ensembles, James Harkness takes on the role of Paul Williams.
Harkness, along with Rashidra Scott, were both longtime company members of Beautiful, jumping across 7th Avenue to the Imperial. In fact, three other cast members have also played the Carole King Musical on the Main Stem. Company member Joshua Morgan returns home to the Imperial Theatre after making his debut there in Les Miserables.
The company also features five Broadway debuts among its ensemblists. The Legacy Robe will likely go to E. Clayton Cornelious - while Ain’t Too Proud is his eighth Broadway show, this will be his first time receiving the honor.
Opening Night: April 17, 2019
The ensemble of Hadestown is a small, but mighty crew. The five onstage ensemble members and four offstage swings have 39 Broadway credits between them. Out of those nine actors, four of them have already been in other Broadway shows this season.
Cast member Afra Hines is undoubtably one of Broadway’s most consummate ensemblists; she’s worked as both an original cast member and a replacement, both in onstage tracks and as a swing, and has been a dance captain three times on Broadway. Coming off of a spectacular performance in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical earlier this season, Hadestown will mark Hines’ eighth show on the Main Stem.
While Hadestown ensemblist Kimberly Marable has fewer Broadway credits on her resume, she by no means has less experience, as she has been performing in the ensemble of The Lion King on Broadway since 2014. Also, keep a look out for cast member Timothy Hughes (who is not hard to spot at a towering 6’6”) - he returns to ensemble work after originating the role of Pabbie in Frozen on Broadway.
Opening Night: April 23, 2019
Like the cast of Kiss Me Kate, only two of Tootsie’s ensemblists are making their debuts: Katerina Papacostas and Diana Vaden. And just as is the case with Kiss Me, Kate, the show’s ensemble roster includes two veterans of Hello, Dolly! and four from On The 20th Century (Jenifer Foote has the distinction of having performed in both).
One of those 20th Century alumnae, Paula Leggett Chase, made her Broadway debut in the original production of A Chorus Line covering Sheila, Kristine and Judy. She was also an original cast member of Crazy For You and Curtains, as well as many revivals.
Of the ensemble’s 77 combined Broadway credits - only one of them has performed at the Marquis Theatre before (Leslie Donna Flesner in the 2011 revival of Follies). The company has three Legacy Robe winners among it - Chase, Jenifer Foote and Shina Ann Morris. But look to Foote to take home a Legacy Robe to add to her collection (She already has received it three times - including twice in the 2016-2017 Broadway season).
Opening Night: April 25, 2019
Compared to the other companies hitting the Rialto this spring, Beetlejuice is a cast of relative newbies. The 15 actors on chorus contracts share just 35 Broadway shows between them. Five ensemblists will be making their Broadway debuts in the show, and the presumed Legacy Robe winner Ryan Breslin has just four Broadway credits (as if four Broadway credits is anything to scoff at - you go, Ryan!).
Two cast members will feel at home at the Winter Garden, as Will Blum and Natalie Charle Ellis just closed its last tenant, School of Rock - The Musical. And while this is his first time working at the Winter Garden, Sean Montgomery has the distinction of working in a Broadway ensemble every season since 2013.
Also, the Ensemblist Longevity Award goes to dance captain Brooke Engen. While Beetlejuice is her third Broadway show, her last experience performing on Broadway was closing Hairspray for than a decade ago (January 4, 2009, to be exact). She just goes to show that, in show business, persistence pays off!