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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

5 Debut Questions: King Kong's Lissa deGuzman

Angela Tricarico

Today we welcome King Kong ensemblist Lissa deGuzman to Broadway and learn about her journey to the Great White Way!

Lissa deGuzman as Ann Darrow

Lissa deGuzman as Ann Darrow

1. What is your name, hometown, and when did you make your broadway debut?

My name is Lissa deGuzman and I’m from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

2. What was your role/track in your Broadway debut?

I’m an ensemble/Ann understudy in King Kong. I made my official Broadway debut as Ann and then three days later, I debuted my ensemble track.

3. How did you find out you had booked the part?

I was in the shower and I missed a call from one of my agents. I realized he didn’t really have any reason to call me unless he had some sort of good or bad news. As I’m soaking wet and still in a towel, I called him back. He asked how my Memorial Day was and I just remember my heart beating so fast and the anticipation was killing me. Then he said, “How would you like to make your broadway debut in King Kong?”

I yelled “No way!” at him approximately 20 times while pacing around my room. Then I galavanted around my apartment in a towel in disbelief and utter happiness.

4. What's been the most surprising thing about preparing to perform the show?

Lissa deGuzman

Lissa deGuzman

The most surprising thing has been the challenges of working with a 2,000 pound puppet. I learned the Ann track first and many of her scenes are with him. A story is being told between the two of them, but the only actual words spoken are by Ann. Rehearsals with the puppet, KiKo, require the ten actors who move his body and the three VooDoo operators who move his face and shoulders. I felt it necessary to use these actors’ time very efficiently and wisely because more than 13 people were coming in to put me into the show. It was a unique but awesome experience learning to do scenes with KiKo so early in my process.

5. What are you looking forward to most about your experience on Broadway?

I’m looking forward to getting to know the people in this show. They are incredible performers and to be able to be with them eight times a week will be an honor. I’m also looking forward to finding some sort of routine in the city. I’m excited to go to work everyday and call this my job.