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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

7 Actors Who Made Their Broadway Debuts in the Ensemble of WICKED

Jackson Cline

Today on the blog, we celebrate Wicked’s 15th anniversary and learn about the Ozian experiences of 7 actors who made their Broadway debuts in the ensemble.

Betsy Struxness

 Betsy Struxness

Betsy Struxness

1. When did you make your Broadway debut in Wicked? 2010

2. What was your role/track in Wicked? Before joining the Broadway company, I was a swing in the Chicago company starting in 2007 and also out in San Francisco for someone's medical leave in 2009. On Broadway, I was in the ensemble as the girl who faints upon seeing Elphaba for the first time at Shiz. Usually a Glinda cover, I was there for someone's medical leave, but I didn't cover Glinda.  

3. What was your favorite thing about being in the ensemble of Wicked? I love all the fun and outlandish costumes and wigs. Every costume in Wicked immediately puts you into the world of these bright yet dark weird people. It's strange and wonderful. I took a lot of pictures... a lot.   

Gaelen Gilliland

 Gaelen Gilliland

Gaelen Gilliland

1. When did you make your Broadway debut in Wicked? I made my Broadway debut in August of 2005 after an instant replacement audition for the part the month before. It had all happened very fast, and since Wicked was my favorite show on Broadway, it was very surreal. 

2. What was your role/track in Wicked? I was the first replacement for the ensemble part named Shen Shen, and then about 6 months after joining the company, I was made an understudy for Mdm. Morrible.

3. What was your favorite thing about being in the ensemble of Wicked? I’m sure it’s still this way now, but what was most exciting to me was the curtain call of the show. It was like being at a rock concert the way people reacted. While people leapt to their feet, the cheers were so loud that it just made me laugh out loud and my eyes fill with tears of joy. Feeling that much joy and love from an audience doesn’t happen that often. In fact, I can only think of one other time (recently at our closing of Spongebob) where I could feel that kind of reaction from a crowd. 

Katie Webber

 Katie Webber & Reed Kelly

Katie Webber & Reed Kelly

1. When did you make your Broadway debut in Wicked? December 2005, after 1 week of rehearsal!

2. What was your role/track in Wicked? Witch’s Mother track

3. What was your favorite thing about being in the ensemble of Wicked? My favorite thing about being in the ensemble of Wicked (for over three years) was the lifelong friendships that I made. I met my besties there!

Reed Kelly

1. When did you make your Broadway debut in Wicked? August 2004

2. What was your role/track in Wicked? Chistery understudy/Flying Monkey/Tumbling Track/Also Ribbon Boy

3. What was your favorite thing about being in the ensemble of Wicked? I entered the show while it was almost entirely the original cast, so it was such a cool way to make my Broadway debut — in a supernova hit musical phenomenon — and over the next four years there, I got to work with so many incredible, talented, and wonderful people. 

 Reed Kelly

Reed Kelly

Travis Waldschmidt

 Travis Waldschmidt

Travis Waldschmidt

1. When did you make your Broadway debut in Wicked? July 23, 2013

2. What was your role/track in Wicked? I was the “tumble track” in the ensemble.

3. What was your favorite thing about being in the ensemble of Wicked? My favorite thing about being in the ensemble of Wicked was portraying a flying monkey. I mean, come on! I get to dance around in a body-enhanced unitard as a primate with wings. SIGN ME UP!!! 

Kristy Cates

1. When did you make your Broadway debut in Wicked? Original Broadway Cast, baby!

2. What was your role/track in Wicked? Horn-Wig Lady (“No one cries, ‘they won’t return!’”), Umbrella lady in The Emerald City (“I hear some rebel animals are giving her food and shelter!”) and Elphaba Understudy. 

3. What was your favorite thing about being in the ensemble of Wicked? My favorite thing about being in the ensemble was knowing we were all part of something really special. Being in a show that feels like a rock concert every night... where the audience jumps to their feet at the curtain call... where so many fans wait at the stage door and send amazing letters... a show that changes lives and relationships. It’s just all so magical.

 Kristy Cates

Kristy Cates

Afra Hines

 Afra Hines (left) backstage at  Wicked

Afra Hines (left) backstage at Wicked

1. When did you make your Broadway debut in Wicked? I made my Broadway debut in Wicked in 2006

2. What was your role/track in Wicked? I was originally hired as a universal swing, and later moved into the Corinne McFadden track.

3. What was your favorite thing about being in the ensemble of Wicked? My favorite thing about being in the ensemble of Wicked is that I got to play so many different characters! From  students to flying monkeys to fabulous Ozians or angry townspeople - it was so much fun.