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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

Creating Harmony

Mo Brady

by Brian Calì

Brian Cali (left, with Jake Odmark)

Brian Cali (left, with Jake Odmark)

Harmony On Broadway, or the idea of it, first came to me last year. Jake was asked to arrange an a cappella version of “Unchained Melody” for our friend Jennifer Sanchez’s solo show, and I was part of the quartet that sang his arrangement. As we were in the middle of running it, I was thinking to myself... ”I bet we could make a full-on show using Jake’s arrangements alone.” Easy breezy, no? It was definitely nothing new to him. He’s been arranging for as long as I’ve known him and even before that. He was the music director of an a cappella group in college and then created his own group here in New York City called Apollo Link. That group had a lot of success on Youtube, as well as performing here in New York and across the country.

For me, producing was always something that I was interested in, so when the idea popped in my head, I decided to give it a go… learning a ton along the way. He arranges the music, I make it all happen. We’ve been friends on and off-stage for a long time, so being business partners seemed easy and obvious.

It helps that, at the moment, for eight shows a week, we are basically attached at the hip doing our tracks at Pretty Woman: The Musical. Our characters are always on stage together and our dressing stations are literally adjacent to each other. So, honestly, not producing a concert together seemed like a missed opportunity. At first, we thought an a cappella show would be interesting, considering Jake’s background, but eventually we decided to include light instrumentation to allow the vocal lines to be even more highlighted.

Brian Cali

Brian Cali

The definition of harmony is “the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect.” We really wanted to explore this idea. What happens when a famous solo number becomes a “combination of simultaneously sounded” solos? Two at a time? Three? Four? The idea of multiple Broadway stars bringing their powerful voices together to serve a single piece was what really excited us... and how lucky did we get with this group! Wow.

We have some of the most gifted singers on Broadway singing alongside each other, and the result is like nothing you’ve heard before. The work they’ve put in has been tremendous and it’s so inspiring to see these incredible vocalists share a bit of the spotlight with each other. The show celebrates Broadway stars working in harmony as they sing in harmony.

Harmony On Broadway, a night of Broadway show tunes re-voiced and reimagined, will be the first of what we hope to be an ongoing series highlighting imaginative, new vocal harmony across all genres of music. We are planning concerts that feature pop, country, and even Christmas music, all with the purpose of making songs you know as solos into duets, trios, and small group numbers. We’re proud to create a night that celebrates harmony, both in music and community - and it’s sure to “have a pleasing effect.”

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