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New York, NY

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. 


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

Q&A: Max Von Essen

Nikka Lanzarone

Connect with Max

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Max's Episode: Les Misérables (#22)

Where are you from? Well, I was born in Queens, NY, but by the time I was 5, I was living on Long Island, so I feel like a product of suburban Long Island.

Broadway credits: Jesus Christ Superstar (2000 revival), Dance of the Vampires, Les Miserables (closing company of the original run), Les Miserables (2006 revival) and Evita (2012 revival).

How did you hear you’d booked your first Broadway show? I was playing Jesus in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar in Connecticut and during the rehearsal process, I drove back into NYC to audition for the broadway revival because I knew they needed a Jesus understudy. When I was driving back to Connecticut I got the call and started to cry!

What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? Oh gosh, so hard to choose. Broadway Bares ranks very high for me, though… probably because I used to lie to my parents when I was younger, say I was staying at a friend’s place, and instead sneak out to see Broadway Bares. Oooops.

What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you? Ever since I was a kid and had a few friends on Broadway, I was always fascinated how it seemed like one big family. I dreamed of being a part of it, and to be an adult now and a part of the community is unreal. It actually is like a family and that sense of community is what always drew me to it.

What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently?  Art. I honestly know absolutely nothing about the art world, but I love finding artwork in the oddest of places, from street artists to vintage shops, and beginning my collection. I probably don’t own anything of real value yet, but the pieces are valuable to me because they speak to me. And that is what art is all about.

If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be… Shirley Bassey

If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose… Robbie Fairchild. He’s a new buddy of mine, we’ve been working on a new project together and he is a principal dancer with the NYC Ballet. I just want to know what it feels like to dance like that. It must be such a thrilling feeling. Like flying. 

To be successful in this business, it takes… A very tough skin. You hear a lot of NO in this business. Constantly. But when the work comes, it is so thrilling and makes it all worth it. Just be prepared for the NO!

Tell us a secret.  I have shoplifted.