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New York, NY
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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. 

Q&As

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

Q&A: Arbender Robinson

Nikka Lanzarone

Connect with Arbender

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Arbender's Episode: Les Misérables (#22)

Where are you from? Crest Hill, Illinois. (South of Chicago near Joliet)

Broadway credits: Hairspray, Little Mermaid, Hair (revival), Ragtime (revival), Hair (summer of love), Book Of Mormon, Lion King, Beautiful, Les Miserables

How did you hear you’d booked your first Broadway show? I was working in Michigan and had flown back to NYC for one day for a callback. I was sure it wasn’t going to happen for me this time around.  I was in a car headed back to the airport and my cellphone rang. I answered and Craig Burns said “How would you like to be in a Broadway show?” YES!!! I can still recall how much my right leg was shaking. I started rehearsal for Hairspray exactly one week later.

What is your favorite event in the Broadway community?  This is a hard question to answer, because all of our events are special to me in some way. If i had to choose only one, I would selfishly choose the Tony Awards (I’ve never performed on them YET!!). It’s that one event that defines our community around the world. I love when people refer to something from the Tony Awards and I can say “I was there” -that’s amazing.

What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you?  I’m still fascinated that I work on Broadway. It’s amazing to be a part of this long legacy and history of performers, and without sounding corny, I will say that right now I’m working on Les Miz with Ramin Karimloo and Will Swenson.  I will say that both of these men are walking inspirations, dedicated to their craft, caring fathers and gracious human beings.  I love watching and am fascinated by them at work every day.

What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently?  Hummm now you are digging into my secrets. I watch movies all the time and can always find inspiration there but something in general life that inspires me is a spontaneous lunch with a homeless person. This sounds strange, but i won’t give money away on the street I will, however, share a meal with you right there on the street corner if it makes you feel comfortable. I only request that you eat slowly and chat with me for a while. The stories and the people I meet are truly amazing and inspire me to bea better human.

If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be… Actress Alfree Woodard

If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose… Are you trying to make me cry? I guess this answer will change daily, but today I would say my Brother. On the other hand, I would trade places with anyone who is a father. I want to be a father more than anything.

To be successful in this business, it takes… Everything. It takes you being all of who you are and you need to be comfortable with that. This all sounds very Disney and Rainbow Skies, but its true. You need to know that you are good enough and you need to bring your “good” you to the table daily. That’s it, and the rest is out of your hands, but always remain the best you professionally, personally, emotionally etc. In the end you have “you” and you want your “you” to be a “you” that you can live with and hang out with.  You should also never abuse the word YOU the way i just did. 

Tell us a secret. OH my I have so many. Most will probably put me in jail. I told you that I hang out with homeless people on a regular basis. I cry hard at movies and commercials, really hard. Sometimes so hard that I need a bottle of wine and comfort food to get over it. Yeah that hard!! OK I may be tearing up now thinking about it. To that end, i go to the movies a lot by myself.