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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

King Kong - The King's Company - Explained!

Mo Brady

One of the most incredible things about King Kong on Broadway is how 13 actors collaborate to portray the title character. We wanted to know more about the specific parts each actor takes on, as well as the most challenging and exciting parts of the show to perform.

The company of  King Kong  (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

The company of King Kong (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Jovan Dansberry

Left Paw

Most Challenging: Anytime Kong is running. It takes a lot of energy and coordination with the guys on wrists and elbows to make it work smoothly. It’s a full-body workout!

Favorite Move: It’s always really exciting to do “front of house.” Everyone in audience is on the edge of their seat. Then the left paw gets to reach out over the first few rows. It’s pretty fun to see the reactions of their faces when Kong is inches away from touching them.

Marty Lawson 

Left Wrist 

Most Challenging: The Empire State Building climb in Act 2. Anytime you get the full extension of Kong’s arm all the way above his body, the weight becomes a lot to control. 

Favorite Move: Either all the puppeteering work that we do in the Cave scene or the runs with Anne on Kong’s back as he escapes through NYC. The puppeteering in the cave is some of the more delicate work we do in the show and allows us to show Kong’s personality for the first time. The runs with Anne on the back are just such a fulfilling moment to be a part of. The music is driving, the whole King’s Company is working together, and the audience loves it. You can feel the rush of energy as Kong plows through the streets. 

The company of  King Kong  (Photo by Joan Marcus)

The company of King Kong (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Jacob Williams

Kong Captain, Voodoo shoulders, arms and hands

Most Challenging: Constantly having to coordinate 13 performers as one single entity.

Favorite Move: King’s Company now. It’s awesome!

 Jon Hoche

Voice/VooDoo Puppeteer in charge of Head and Neck Movement

Most Challenging: The small subtle moments in the show, making sure Kong’s head stays alive and fluid and not robotic.

Favorite Move: Running through the streets of Manhattan.

Jonathan Christopher MacMillan

Voodoo Swing

Most Challenging: Doing the shoulders during The Descent (Chase), because there are so many moving parts and on top of that, Kong is swinging because of his momentum, and I have to find a way to interpret that passive movement and give it a quality that makes sense in the story.

Favorite Move: Doing the face during The Clearing when Kong is getting gassed because you see almost every emotion that he experiences in the show in less than a minute – anger, confusion, longing, pain, and love. It’s the clearest expression of Kong’s true intentions which are so human in a way that you can’t help but feel empathetic.

Casey Garvin

Right Paw

Most Challenging: Lifting Ann in Kong’s hand through the Times Square chase sequence. It’s near the end of the show and has all of the most strenuous moves. 

Favorite Move: Chest Beats 

David Yijae

Right Elbow

Most Challenging: Lifting Ann in hand because I’m directly under the paw supporting Ann.

Favorite Move: Jumping off of Kong. I’m the Last Jumper in the final scene with Kong. I almost feel like a super hero while it is in slow motion in the matrix. And I get to look at the audience and then get ready and jump. It’s the highest jump, being that he is on top of the Empire State Building.

Gabriel Hyman

Right Foot (and sometimes Right Elbow)

Most Challenging: Broadway Nightmare through to the Empire State Climb, for me are the most difficult Kong scenes to perform. It’s nonstop Kong action.


Favorite Move: Kong’s arrival. It’s amazing witnessing the audience see and hear Kong for the first time.

The company of  King Kong  (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

The company of King Kong (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Lauren Yalango-Grant

Many positions: right foot, right elbow, two launches, lots of rigging and de-rigging

Most Challenging: I’m at a place where I feel pretty comfortable with most all of Kong moves, but I would say I have a lot of very important rigging and safety things throughout Broadway Nightmare and Beauty and the Beast. I have to be really calm and focused. 

Favorite Move: Beauty and the Beast - helping Ann up onto Kong’s back, rigging her in and riding Kong while running through streets of New York - as well as that final launch in the scene. 

Jena VanElslander 

King's Company Swing

Most Challenging: In Lauren's track - rigging all the lines on Kong's back during Beauty and The Beast scene, for myself and Ann! This entails climbing on his back with 8 carabiners in one hand and getting them all organized quickly. Then clipping Ann (the STAR) into the little mini harness loop engulfed by her dress, as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible - no pressure!!! 

Favorite Move: In Khadija's track, when Kong is on top of Empire State Building and getting shot at, I'm crouched on top of his right shoulder shielding myself from the gun fire, silence, stand up, JUMP OFF!

The company of  King Kong  (Photo by Joan Marcus)

The company of King Kong (Photo by Joan Marcus)

The company of  King Kong  (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

The company of King Kong (Photo by Matthew Murphy)