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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: Robert Hartwell

Nikka Lanzarone

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broadway quickchange

Robert's Episode: Double Duty (#5)

Where are you from? Raleigh, NC

Broadway credits: Memphis, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Cinderella

How did you hear you’d booked your first Broadway show? I had my final callback for Memphis at 10 am at Ripley-Grier and had another audition at 2pm at Chelsea Studios. I remember as I left the Memphis audition Abbie Brady-Dalton from Telsey Casting said “good job today Robert” But my gut reaction said “oh no she’s saying good job but no job for you today lol”. As I was waiting to go into the room to sing at the second audition of the day I had a random “212” number call me but as I went to pick it up they called my name to go into the room so the entire time I’m singing I’m freaking out/peeing on myself/dying/having a panic attack/needing to be back at my phone. As I was leaving the audition and getting in the elevator my phone rang again and it was Rachel Hoffman from Telsey Casting with my agents on the phone and she said “How would you like to make your Broadway debut in 2 weeks?” I immediately starting screaming in the elevator full of people and then the call dropped so I was that CRAZY person in the elevator screaming and crying and jumping up and down! When I called my mom to tell her she was driving and she started screaming and getting so excited I made her pull over! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree clearly!

What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? I love when the whole cast gets together for the BCEFA poster signing party between shows because it means we get free pizza and carpal tunnel syndrome all at the same time. I’m obsessed with pizza. If I could have it 3 times a day I would.

What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you? Marketing. I’m always fascinated by watching how Producers move. I love seeing how especially in a new musical the different versions of the show commercial and poster they go through and watching how that affects our numbers. The best though is seeing how creative the Producers have to get with marketing the plays. This is the dorky BFA musical theatre side of Robert haha! I think it my next life I will be a marketing strategy analyst.

What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? I’m a member of the Broadway Inspirational Voices, which is a gospel choir comprised of Broadway artists led by Michael McElroy, and we just had our summer concert. I love what the core message of the choir is: believing that the best for your life is yet to come. I think it’s so easy in this business to get frustrated and doubt your journey so to have a place to go and sing and testify about the goodness of life and share it with other is truly inspiring and life affirming for me.

Michelle Obama. I’m a huge family guy so I’m enamored with her grace in how she handles her multiple hats of mother, wife, daughter, and First Lady. I’m also a huge hugger and she’s always hugging people in interviews so I would love coffee and a hug from our First Lady.

If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose… Tony Goldwyn because he gets to spend so much time with my favorite Scandal star Kerry Washington. Also, I’m sure he has Kristen Chenoweth on speed dial so I could just call her up for a quick lunch date. Absolutely, Tony Goldwyn. I mean truly though, what could be better than lunch with Kristen and dinner with Kerry? Right?

To be successful in this business, it takes… A healthy dose of optimism, an awesome support system of family and friends, and a steadfast faith in the impossible.

Tell us a secret. I got cut from the open dance call for Cinderella. If at first you don’t succeed try try again :)