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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. 

Q&As

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

Q&A: Lisa Gajda

Nikka Lanzarone

Connect with Lisa

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Lisa's Episode: The Gypsy Robe (#11)

Where are you from? Great Neck, Long Island 

Broadway credits: Chaplin, Catch Me If You Can, Elf, Finian’s Rainbow, Guys and Dolls, Pal Joey, Cry-Baby, The Times They Are A-Changin’, Spamalot, Movin’ Out, Taboo, Urban Cowboy, The Sweet Smell of Success, Kiss Me, Kate, Fosse, How to Succeed…, Tommy

How did you hear you’d booked your first Broadway show? I had done Tommy on the road and I got a phone call a few months after the tour closed that I was being offered a broadway track. 

What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? The gypsy robe, because the ceremony honors a chorus member on opening night, which is terrific- because as much as chorus members contribute to selling shows (ie on the Tonys), they’re rarely officially recognized. 

What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you? It fascinates me that you never ever know if a show is going to work. No matter who you’ve assembled, no matter how hard everyone works on it. There’s always seems to be a fair amount of fairy dust necessary to make a show work. It’s a true gamble. 

What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? I’m 7 ½ months pregnant and I feel inspired by the enormous shift in perspective the experience has provided me. I don’t care if anyone likes me or if I’m good at anything. It’s the opposite of being a broadway dancer. 

If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be…I’d like to have coffee with Brian Banks. A high school football star, with the potential for a professional career who was wrongly imprisoned at 16. Google him. He’s full of grace. 

If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose…For a day? I’d trade places with somebody who is totally confident. Those people fascinate me. Wouldn’t want to do it for two days, though. I like being unsure, old, flawed ass me. 

To be successful in this business, it takes…A person needs to be observant, resilient, very hard working, likable and at least a little damaged. Totally healthy people will quickly say, “too much rejection. No thanks”.  

Tell us a secret. My secret is that I still totally and completely love to dance. All these years later. Long past needing to stay in shape, I will be at steps on broadway taking ballet barre in giant sweatpants with the big elastic bows of my ballet slippers untucked.  For the pleasure of it. I feel very lucky to have something that so consistently makes me happy.