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New York, NY
USA

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. 

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Q&As

Connect with each of our guests as they tackle The Ensemblist's Q&A!

Q&A: Linda Mugleston

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Linda's Episodes: Invited Dress (#90) & Opening Night (#92)

Where are you from? Shelley, Idaho. My high school mascot is a russet potato. Not kidding.

Broadway Credits: On the Town, Kiss Me, Kate, Into the Woods, Nine, Wonderful Town, Young Frankenstein, Anything Goes, Cinderella, On the 20th Century, Beautiful, Hello, Dolly!

How did you hear you'd booked your first show? I was freelancing with my agents, and my first audition in the city was for On the Town. I had a crazy fun, long audition for George Wolfe. I had some summer work lined up back in Indiana, but for some reason, I thought to myself that I was gonna book On the Town. I called Indiana and turned down the job even though my audition for George was just an initial one. After a LONG 3 weeks of no info, I got a callback for On the Town. After the callback, my agents called me at home to tell me I had booked the show!! Needless to say, I was over the moon! So my first audition in the city led to my first show and my Equity card!

What is your favorite event in the Broadway Community?  Of course I love the Tonys.

What, other than theatre, has inspired you lately? Marianne Williamson's talks every Tuesday night here in NYC. She is extraordinary.

If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be... Meryl Streep. We share a birthday!

To be successful in this business, it takes... well, a bunch of things. Versatility has been key in my career. Craft, discipline, technique, observation, focus, good relationships with the creatives, fellow actors and crew members. Gaining a reputation for being easy to work with, kind and dependable. 

Q&A: Jamal Lee Harris

Jackson Cline

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Jamal's Episodes: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (#91) & Broadway Sports (#98)

Where are you from? Los Angeles, CA

Broadway credits: The Lion King

How did you hear you’d booked your first Broadway show? I was at one
of my many survival jobs... this one as a personal assistant... and my
agent called. IT WAS BROADWAY CALLING!

What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? Ummm... Broadway Barks!

What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you? The strength and stamina is takes to do 8 shows a week.

What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? Good music. Really into Anderson Paak right now. Oh, and the movie Moonlight...

If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be... Oprah.

If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose... Richard Branson.

To be successful in this business, it takes... doglike determination.

Tell us a secret. I saw this last version of The Color Purple 4 times.

Q&A: Tyler Hanes

Jackson Cline

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Tyler's Episodes: Theater Neighbors (#89), Invited Dress (#90) & Opening Night (#92)

Where are you from? Marietta, GA

Broadway Credits: Oklahoma! (2002 Revival), Urban CowboyThe Boy From OzThe FrogsSweet Charity (2005 Revival), HairsprayA Chorus Line (2006 Revival), On the Town (2014 Revival), Cats (2016 Revival)

How did you hear you'd booked your first Broadway show? The summer after my freshman year of college, I flew up to NYC for the day to audition for the Broadway revival of Oklahoma! I had expected a huge turnout and to be there all day, but there was about 30 guys, and it only lasted about an hour. Since it was so quick, I had a lot of time to kill before my return flight to Atlanta took off, so I grabbed an early dinner with my friend Sarah Jayne Jensen, who had also auditioned for Oklahoma! earlier that day. While we were waiting for our food to arrive, I got the call from my agents that I booked the show. Shortly after, Sarah Jayne got the call that she too had booked the show. Our impromptu dinner soon became a celebratory meal, because we were going to be making our Broadway debuts together at the Gershwin Theatre.

What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? The Gypsy run. There is so much love in the theatre that night, and the electricity it creates onstage is unparalleled.

What's something about Broadway that fascinates you? The theatres. Not only are they architecturally stunning, the history that comes along with it intrigues me. My favorite thing to do is be alone on the stage with the ghost light long after the audience has left. You can literally feel the energy of those who came before you. I also love looking for little pieces of the past that are hidden all over the theatre (like the signatures under the dressing tables of actors who previously inhabited your dressing room).

What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? Teaching. I am very passionate about arts education and helping kids find the tools they need to unlock their own creativity. Nothing is better than watching a young artist grow and achieve their goals.

If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be... Ann Reinking.

If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose... my cats, Annabelle and Chimbley. They lead such difficult lives- sleeping all ay and then being loved on and pampered when awake.

To be successful in this business, it takes... passion, a thick skin, a kind heart, a great work ethic, confidence, a sense of humor, a good support system, and a life outside of the business.

Tell us a secret. At 15 minutes to places, I have to find a place that is quiet and dark so I can pray. Currently, I am locking myself in the 3rd floor bathroom at the Neil Simon at 15.

Q&A: Jessica Lea Patty

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Jessica's Episodes: Season 3 Rehearsal Reports- Bandstand

Where are you from? Jupiter, Florida

Broadway credits: The Boy From Oz, A Chorus Line (2006 Revival), 9 to 5, The Addams Family, The People in the Picture, Evita (2012 Revival), Bandstand

How did you hear you’d booked your first Broadway show? My dad was in town, so he actually came to the audition with me. Since it was for a replacement, the decision was being made very quickly. I didn’t have an agent at the time, so Dave Clemmons, casting director for Oz, called me personally about 2 hours after the audition when my dad and I were walking into the Empire State Building. We didn't end up going to the top. :-)

What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? There are so many! It would have to be between Broadway Barks & Gypsy of the Year.

What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you? The commitment of everyone involved, across every department, to make a show happen 8 times a week.  Onstage cast, offstage cast, stage management, backstage crew, front of house crew, sound crew. It takes a village for Broadway to happen on the daily, it takes an incredibly committed village that collaborates together. Everyone loves what they do so much that they will push through sickness, injury, taking vacations, not attending life events like weddings and graduations because of their commitment to the industry & their craft. That can’t be said about many professions. “The show must go on” is not just a silly adage. It is a badge of honor that most in the industry wear proudly.  

What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? The current political climate of this country has really affected & inspired me. I’ve realized just how little I was using my voice to support & stand up for what I believe in. Recent events have inspired me to become an activist & advocate for humanity. We must uphold our integrity as a community & a country, so I’ve been inspired to do just that. 

If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be… torn between Barack Obama or Betty White.

If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose… Jack Hanna. :-) I LOVE ALL ANIMALS.

To be successful in this business, it takes… not caring what others think of you, being fearless, LOTS of hard work & absolutely loving what you do. The first two are always a work in progress.

Tell us a secret. I crave chips, french fries & pasta. I guess that’s not really a secret. But if I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore. ;-P

Q&A: Bre Jackson

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Bre's Episodes: Theater Neighbors (#89), Opening Night (#92) & Awards Season (#95)

Where are you from? Detroit, MI

Broadway credits: The Book of Mormon, The Color Purple (2015 Broadway Revival)

How did you hear you'd booked your first Broadway show? I was just leaving a Membership meeting in the Equity Bldg and saw I had missed a call from my agents. I called them back and was told to stay by the phone, because the secretary needed to make sure he hadn't left for the weekend. He called me back immediately and proceeded to tell me that Book of Mormon wanted me for Broadway. I screamed and started crying in the Equity lobby. I proceed to fall to my knees, and my friend with me waved security off whispering, "She's not crazy. She just booked Broadway."

What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? I think I love the Easter Bonnet most of all of the events I've been to. But there are so many more I need to get to.

What's something about Broadway that fascinates you? The unsung heroes of Broadway, the stagehands and members of Local One.

What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? Chopped. I love cooking, and while I have a little time off, I've been itching to try some new recipes and cooking methods.

If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be... Barack or Michelle Obama.

If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose... no one honestly. But I would love to be a spoiled house cat for a day.

To be successful in this business, it takes... knowledge and a damn good steamer.

Tell us a secret. There is no formula to success in this business.

Q&A: Dennis Stowe

Jackson Cline

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Dennis' Episode: 2016 Listener Questions (#87)

Where are you from? I'm from Amityville, NY on Long Island, about an hour east of NYC.

Broadway credits: Aladdin (currently), Annie, Leap of Faith, Shrek the Musical, The Apple Tree, The Wedding Singer, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Wonderful Town and Man of La Mancha

How did you hear you’d booked your first Broadway show? I was on tour with West Side Story when I got the call that I had booked Man of La Mancha. I lied and told them my mother was getting an operation so I could fly to NYC for a callback and got the call a couple of days after returning to tour.

What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? I love Broadway Bares and the Tony Awards of course!

What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you? I love the community of Broadway....as much as we are in competition, we are still a tight-knit group and mostly supportive of each other. It feels like a very exclusive club.

What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? Because of recent political events, I am inspired to become more active politically.

If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be... Barack Obama... I wanna know what he's REALLY thinking!

To be successful in this business, it takes..talent, perseverance, and luck.... and you probably only need two out of the three... Also, I think you have to learn how to embrace your authentic self and try not to judge your path by comparing yourself to someone else.

Tell us a secret. I don't have many secrets, what you see is what you get.... although I do have a slight obsession with pizza... lol.

 

Q&A: Anika Chapin

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Anika's Episode: Dramaturgy (#86)

Where are you from? New York, NY. Born and raised, baby.

What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? The Tonys. Although I always have my frustrations with some of the choices/snubs, you can't beat a night where everyone comes together to celebrate this industry and art form. Also, DRESSES. 

What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you? I love the rituals and traditions in it. I majored in cultural anthropology in college, and I realized that Broadway was as much a subculture as anything I was studying. If I said there was a ritual where before the big ceremony, a robe was passed from the last initiate group to a chosen member of the next one, and that person had to touch every member of the group for good luck, then decorate the robe to mark their ceremony and initiation before passing it along, you'd think I was talking about a tribe somewhere. And I am, but it's the Gypsy Robe and it's us.

What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? I fell down a deep, dark rabbit hole of obsession with Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, which is an Australian mystery series about a fabulous lady detective in the 1920s who is smart and independent and solves mysteries and wears amazing outfits and sleeps with attractive men. I got hooked on the TV series (which I watched all of), then I went back and read the books (which I read all of). I just finished the last one and I miss her in my life - and I admit that sometimes when I'm having a rough day I'll think, "How would Miss Fisher handle this?" I should really have a WWMFD bracelet made (but it would have to be made of silk and ostrich feathers, obviously. With emeralds.).

If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be... In my mind, Cate Blanchett and I are already besties. So getting coffee with her would really just be correcting the universal error that we don't actually know each other.

If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose... Renee Fleming. I can't sing at all, and I want to know what it's like to open your mouth and have that voice come out. 

To be successful in this business, it takes... a sense of humor and great powers of observation.

Tell us a secret. When I was little, I would act out scenes from my favorite shows for my parents. It was a very successful series until I roped my sister and best friend into doing a blistering rendition of "The Heat is On in Saigon," complete with "thong" wedgies. 

Q&A: Neil Haskell

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Neil's Episode: Hamilton (#85)

Where are you from? Clarence Center, NY (Buffalo)

Broadway credits: The Times They Are A-Changin', 9 to 5, Bring It On, Cinderella, Tuck Everlasting, Hamilton

How did you hear you’d booked your first Broadway show? A phone call from Binder's office. They ask, "Hey, can you be in NY tomorrow for rehearsal?" I responded, "Can I call you back? I need to talk to my parents first." It was 5 days before I was heading back to Point Park University for my sophomore year. 2 days later, I flew to NY for a costume fitting and my first rehearsal.

What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? A tie between Broadway Bowling and the Broadway Softball League.

What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you? The magic of a super quick onstage costume change.

What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? My nephew

If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be... Probably Seth Rogen. We could discuss my role in his next film...

If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose... LeBron James.

To be successful in this business, it takes... Stamina. Hard work. Courage. People Skills.

Tell us a secret. I've logged many miles on the treadmill listening to the Ghost cast album.

 

Q&A: Pearl Sun

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Pearl's Episode: Next to Normal (#84)

Where are you from? Los Angeles, CA

Broadway credits: If/Then, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas

How did you hear you’d booked your first Broadway show? I was playing Irene Molloy in a production of Hello, Dolly! at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY at the time. I was in my hotel room, and my agent and friend, Jed Abrahams, told me to sit down and broke the news. I couldn't believe it! It felt like such a huge hurdle to pass, and I was so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the community.

What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? Broadway in Bryant Park is my favorite event in the Broadway community for many reasons. It allows people to enjoy musical numbers from current shows while sitting in one of the best parks, it rings in the summer season, which completely opens up New York City and everything it has to offer, and it's a great time for the community to come together and bring their art to the masses.

What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you? I found last season to be extremely diverse, but as progressive as last season was, I am fascinated that we have such a long way to go. 

What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? I am in the home stretch of my pregnancy, so I have been extremely inspired by what it means to expand one's family while juggling the schedule of an artist. I have seen many of my friends handle parenthood with such grace, compassion, and unconditional love that it truly inspires me to be the best parent I can be.

If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be... Oprah! She's the closest I can get to Maya Angelou. 

If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose... Michelle Obama, because she's extraordinary and so beloved!

To be successful in this business, it takes... Passion, determination, a strong work ethic, and a good reputation.

Tell us a secret. Hmmmm... That's pretty tough. If anyone knows me, they know that I'm an extremely straightforward person. What you see is what you get! Ask me something! 

 

Q&A: Cleve Asbury

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Cleve's Episode: How to Succeed... (#80)

Where are you from? Houston, Texas

Broadway credits: PETER PAN, WEST SIDE STORY, BRING BACK BIRDIE, COPPERFIELD, HARRIGAN ’N HART, ME AND MY GIRL, JEROME ROBBINS’  BROADWAY, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, WONDERFUL TOWN, CHITA RIVERA: THE DANCER’S LIFE, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING

How did you hear you’d booked your first Broadway show? I had gotten into PETER PAN starring Sandy Duncan, which at the time was going to be a summer stock tour. But when the show was mounted at the Dallas Summer Musicals, the producers basically decided to forego the rest of the tour and bring the production straight to Broadway. All of a sudden I had booked my first Broadway show!

What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? The Easter Bonnet Competition!

What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you? Why great shows can still fail at the box office

What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? The gymnasts at the Olympics. Wow.

If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be… Kevin Hart, because I would be laughing from beginning to end.

If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose… George Clooney. What’s it like to be him?

To be successful in this business, it takes… Persistent positive attitude.

Tell us a secret. I saw Laurence Fishburne naked.