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Rank #130 in Performing Arts category

Arts
Performing Arts

The Ensemblist

Updated about 15 hours ago

Rank #130 in Performing Arts category

Arts
Performing Arts
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The Ensemblist is the online advocate for the talent artists working in theatre ensembles. Through our podcast, website and social presence we are creating conversation what it means to be a successful artist in the theatre. Each of our miniseries highlights a conversation that effects performers in Broadway ensembles, with experts on the topic sharing their insights in candid interviews. The Ensemblist podcast has more than 1.2 million podcast downloads and was recently named one of the Top 50 Best Selling Performing Arts Podcasts of all time.

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The Ensemblist is the online advocate for the talent artists working in theatre ensembles. Through our podcast, website and social presence we are creating conversation what it means to be a successful artist in the theatre. Each of our miniseries highlights a conversation that effects performers in Broadway ensembles, with experts on the topic sharing their insights in candid interviews. The Ensemblist podcast has more than 1.2 million podcast downloads and was recently named one of the Top 50 Best Selling Performing Arts Podcasts of all time.

iTunes Ratings

324 Ratings
Average Ratings
304
13
5
1
1

So good!

By ccm2006 - Oct 14 2019
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The Way Down Hadestown series was so good!!!

Very well done!

By MissingJon - Oct 07 2019
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This is a very engaging podcast for anyone interested in theater.

iTunes Ratings

324 Ratings
Average Ratings
304
13
5
1
1

So good!

By ccm2006 - Oct 14 2019
Read more
The Way Down Hadestown series was so good!!!

Very well done!

By MissingJon - Oct 07 2019
Read more
This is a very engaging podcast for anyone interested in theater.
Cover image of The Ensemblist

The Ensemblist

Latest release on Feb 24, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail about 15 hours ago

Rank #1: #148 - My First Time (feat. Shoshana Bean)

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Welcome to My First Time, where we talk to Broadway stars who made their Broadway debuts in the ensemble to talk about why that experience helped shape them as an artist. For many of our favorite Broadway stars, their start in the ensemble helped to form them as artists. 

No bones about it, Shoshana Bean is a force. She’s a Recording artist, having released four studio albums. She’s mastered the art of YouTube, creating and participating in striking collaborations that feature her powerful voice. A Broadway girl by heart, she’s received acclaim for her portrayal of Jenna in the Sara Bareilles musical Waitress. But before Waitress, before Beaches, before Wicked, Sho made her Broadway debut in a little show called Hairspray. 

Apr 21 2019

20mins

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Rank #2: #156 - My First Time (feat. Ashley Park)

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If there was a breakout star from last year‘s Broadway season, it would undeniably be Ashley Park. Her portrayal of the hilarious but lovable Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls earned Park nominations for seven separate theatre awards last season. But as I found out when I sat down to speak with her, those are qualities that she also portrayed in her first Broadway outing five years earlier, is an ensemble member in Mamma Mia! during the show's 12th year on Broadway. Here’s a conversation...

May 23 2019

16mins

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Rank #3: #81: Let's Talk About Auditions (feat. Laura Marie Duncan, Raymond J. Lee, Krysta Rodriguez, Jessica Rush, Betsy Struxness, Nicholas Ward)

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WE. LOVE. AUDITION. STORIES. You know that. Everyone's got great ones, and our guests are no exception: hear Laura Marie Duncan, Ray Lee, Krysta Rodriguez, Jessica Rush, Betsy Struxness, and Nicholas Ward spill the goods on getting those jobs. Enjoy! 

Jun 12 2016

21mins

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Rank #4: #193 - Let's Talk About Auditions (feat. Ken Davenport)

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Ken Davenport is a self-described art-repenour, meaning that works in multiple ways to combine the artistry of theatre with the business of Broadway He made a name for himself as a producer on shows like Godspell and Spring Awakening, winning a Tony Award for his revival of Once On This Island. He was also the creator of The Awesome 80s Prom off Broadway, the co-creator of Altar Boyz and the book writer of last season’s Getting The Band Back Together.

Upcoming projects include an off-Broadway mounting of Barry Manilow’s Harmony and a musical based on the movie Joy. He’s also the host of the very-good podcast The Producer’s Perspective. Here’s our conversation...

Oct 03 2019

22mins

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Rank #5: #226 - Queer Characters (feat. Caitlin Kinnunen)

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Last season, The Prom leapt onto the Broadway scene, delighting audiences with an original queer-themed musical just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. In The Prom, teenage lesbian Emma Nolan is banned from attending her high school prom with her girlfriend, Alyssa. When a group of narcissistic Broadway performers hear the news, they travel to Indiana to help Emma and pick up some good press along the way. While this premise sounds quite humorous — which it is, The Prom also moved audiences with its great heart and depth. 

This week, we asked Caitlin Kinnunen, who received a Tony nomination for originating the role of Emma, into the studio to chat about her experience as a queer actress bringing this role to life. In addition to The Prom, Caitlin has performed on Broadway in Spring Awakening and The Bridges of Madison County. Here’s our conversation…

Jan 27 2020

21mins

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Rank #6: #217 - Touring Broadway (feat. Cara Cooper, Becky Gulsvig, Megan McGinnis and Jessica Rush)

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In our recent episodes about Touring Broadway, actors Josh Burrage and Sabrina Imamura shared with us some of the joys and struggles of touring with A Bronx Tale, Newsies and Hamilton. But while they each have significant experience in the road, one thing neither of them were able to speak to was going on the road as a parent. 


That’s why I found this Mama’s Talkin Loud so intriguing. Mama’s Talkin Loud is a new parenting podcast hosted two of the co-founders of Broadway Baby Mamas, Cara Cooper and Jessica Rush. In addition to being mothers of young kids, each has also been on Broadway this season: Cooper in The Prom and Rush in Dear Evan Hansen and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.


In this recent episode of Mama’s Talkin Loud, Rush and Cooper spike to Becky Gulsvig and Megan McGinnis, both of whom recently finished touring with Come From Away with young children. Between their discussions of travel days and searching for nannies, I found it a fascinating conversation. Which is why I wanted to share it with you all. 


It’s a perfect companion piece to our Touring Broadway mini-series, which is why I’m so grateful Jessica and Cara are allowing us to share it in our feed today. Here’s their conversation...

Dec 26 2019

43mins

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Rank #7: #213 - Touring Broadway (feat. Josh Burrage)

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First National Tours are one of the most important calling cards for the Broadway community. Staged in New York City to cross the country, these facsimiles of Broadway shows bring the experience of attending a Mainstem musical to theatrelovers across the country. But how similar are these touring productions to their Broadway counterparts? And what’s the experience for performers who pick up their lives to travel the country in one of the casts?

Joshua Michael Burrage has performed with not one, but two first national tours: Newsies and A Bronx Tale The Musical. In between, he made his Broadway debut in the recent revival of Cats. I asked him into the studio to talk about those two tours, and how those experiences differed from performing on the Great White Way. Here’s our conversation...

Dec 12 2019

19mins

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Rank #8: #200 - Smash'ed (Episode 1)

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The first episode of Smash is aptly named, “Pilot.” The episode premiered on February 6th, 2012. It was written by the show’s creator Theresa Rebeck, and directed by Michael Mayer. The pilot premiered to an audience of 11.44 million people! This episode featured seven songs, three of which were original songs written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman: “Never Give All the Heart,” “The National Pastime,” and the show’s anthem “Let Me Be Your Star.” The other four were covers of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” “I Wanna Be Loved By You,” “Beautiful,” and “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.” 

We fade in on a girl with a hunger for fame and a face and a name to remember. That face is Katharine McPhee and that name is Karen Cartwright. She’s singing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” in an audition.

A team of writers Tom Levitt and Julia Houston are tipped off to a subject for a new musical by their assistant Ellis. Ellis says “I think (Marilyn Monroe) would make a good musical.” Julia is intrigued by Marilyn as a subject, saying “There’s just something about (Marilyn). How much she loved and wanted to be loved.” So the team gets to work on a demo, bringing in Ivy Smith to record the song.

Ivy is currently an ensemblist in Tom Levitt’s Broadway production Heaven on Earth, but she confides to him that “You know I love the show. I love you.” Tom: “The ensemble not so much.” Ivy: “I just want a part.”

After THREE commercial breaks, we meet Anjelica Houston as Eileen Rand, who wants the project and wants to connect them with a hot-tempered director Derek Wills. They all agree to set aside their differences, in part due to a specularly staged number on spec called “The National Pastime.” 

Karen turns a remarkable audition for Marilyn, singing Smash’s first pop cover: “Beautiful” by Christina Aguleria. Derek is intrigued enough to invite Karen over to his apartment under the pretence of a private coaching session. She keeps Derek at arm’s length , and the episode ends with both Karen and Ivy vying to “Let Me Be Your Star.”

Oct 28 2019

18mins

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Rank #9: #189 - My First Time (feat. Todrick Hall)

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Todrick Hall is a trailblazer in the world of video. His work has always sought to entertain and engage, uniting his love of music, theatre and Disney with unparalleled production quality. Blasting open the possibilities of online video, he’s also created studio albums, live touring productions and award-winning music videos.

But Todrick’s first love was Broadway, as is obvious from the number of times he’s trod the broads on the mainstem. Last week, he finished a run as Ogie in Waitress the musical on Broadway. But he’s also played Lola in Kinky Boots, Billy Flynn in Chicago - both here and in London. And in 2007, he made his Broadway debut in the original production of The Color Purple as a replacement in the show’s ensemble. 

Sep 19 2019

23mins

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Rank #10: #174 - Way Down Hadestown (feat. Timothy Hughes)

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Over the next five weeks, you’ll hear one at a time from the complete ensemble of the newest Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Hadestown, about the characters they’ve created and the careers that got them there.

Timothy Hughes made his Broadway debut in the 2012 production of Chaplin. However, he is probably best known for his role of Strong Man in the film The Greatest Showman and creating the role of Pabbie in the Broadway musical Frozen. In Hadestown, he plays Worker #5 and covers the role of Hades. Here's our conversation...

Jul 29 2019

18mins

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Rank #11: #176 - Let's Talk About Auditions (feat. Stephanie Klemons - Part 1)

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Stephanie Klemons is the Associate Choreographer and Global Dance Supervisor of Hamilton. She was part of the process as it grew from a small idea to an international phenomenon with six companies world wide. In addition to being a member of the original cast, she now works to cast the multiple productions of Hamilton. She’s also a choreographer in her own right, working right now on Rock of Ages at Pittsburgh CLO. She does all of this on top of being a wife and mother. 

Aug 05 2019

16mins

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Rank #12: #216 - Touring Broadway (feat. Sabrina Imamura)

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First National Tours are one of the most important calling cards for the Broadway community. Staged in New York City to cross the country, these facsimiles of Broadway shows bring the experience of attending a Mainstem musical to theatrelovers across the country. But how similar are these touring productions to their Broadway counterparts? And what’s the experience for performers who pick up their lives to travel the country in one of the casts?

Sabrina Imamura opened the first national tour of Hamilton in early 2017. Performing in the show’s ensemble took her along the West coast for about a year and a half before Broadway called, where she’s been in the show’s Mainstem ensemble since mid-2018. I asked her into the studio to tell about how performing in two productions differed, both onstage and off. Here’s our conversation...

Dec 23 2019

19mins

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Rank #13: #138 - My First Time (feat. Ben Crawford)

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Welcome to My First Time, a new mini-series from The Ensemblist where we talk to Broadway stars who made their Broadway debuts in the ensemble to talk about why that experience helped shape them as an artist. For many of our favorite Broadway stars, their start in the ensemble helped to form them as artists. 

Our first guest for this new miniseries is Ben Crawford. Since April 2018, he’s been creeping ‘round the Majestic Theatre as the title character in The Phantom of the Opera. But before headlining this show, before Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Big Fish and Shrek, he was a replacement in the first Broadway revival of Les Miserables, covering both the roles of Valjean and Javert. 

Feb 25 2019

14mins

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Rank #14: #228 - Seeking Representation (feat. Bradley Gibson)

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One of the loudest and most vibrant cultural conversations to recently hit the Broadway community has been about racial representation. Throughout dressing rooms and across casting tables, there’s a persistent desire from audiences and artists to see more diverse stories onstage. And yet, the racial diversity of our country isn’t reflected in the racial diversity of Broadway performers.


There has been no seismic shift in the number of actors of color performing on Broadway. Yes, systematic change often comes with incremental progress. However, the recent crop of Broadway musicals seem to provide few examples of such change. I’ve been curious what that feels like for artists of color, so I asked a few into the studio to share their experiences with racial representation in the theatre industry.


Bradley Gibson made his Broadway debut as a swing on the 2014 musical adaptation of Rocky. Since then, he created the role of Tyrone in A Bronx Tale The Musical and is currently storming the Pridelines as Simba in Broadway’s The Lion King. He joined me in the studio for a candid conversation about how race has played into his career thus far, and where he sees opportunities for better representation on Broadway stages. Here’s our conversation...

Feb 03 2020

21mins

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Rank #15: #167 - Way Down Hadestown (feat. Ahmad Simmons)

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Over the next five weeks, you’ll hear one at a time from the complete ensemble of the newest Tony Award winner for Best Musical about the characters they’ve created and the careers that got them there. 

Ahmad Simmons has performed in three original Broadway companies in the last four years: Cats, Carousel and now Hadestown. In addition to performing choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and Justin Peck, he was also featured this spring playing Ben Vereen on the F/X miniseries Fosse/Verdon. In Hadestown, he plays Worker #4 as well as understudying the roles of Hermes and Orpheus. Here’s our conversation...

Jul 01 2019

20mins

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Rank #16: #183 - The Chorus Kid (feat. Casey Nicholaw - Part 1)

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In a recent interview, Broadway luminary Casey Nicholaw stated “I’m just a bouncy chorus kid.” And while it’s true that he performed in eight Broadway shows over 11 years, he’s also launched a second, rather successful, career as a director and choreographer. So it got me thinking, what is it about a bouncy chorus kid that made him into such a prolific leader?

If you don’t know Casey Nicholaw by name, you’re certainly familiar with the shows that he has worked on. He’s the director and choreographer of Mean Girls, Something Rotten! and Aladdin. He’s a Drama Desk winner, a Drama League winner, an 11-time Tony Award nominee, and one time winner for The Book of Mormon. He’s basically a winner. 

He’s also on the record for sharing that in every production he helms, there’s one number he’s most proud of. I thought this was a fascinating topic for a mini-series: for an acclaimed director/choreographer to walk us through some of the most famous and crowd-pleasing numbers in the musical theatre canon. We talked about his time as a Broadway performer, the inspiration for those numbers - as well as how he build a number from an idea to a Tony Award-winning hit. 

Aug 29 2019

18mins

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Rank #17: #141 - My First Time (feat. Michael Berresse)

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Welcome to My First Time, where we talk to Broadway stars who made their Broadway debuts in the ensemble to talk about why that experience helped shape them as an artist. For many of our favorite Broadway stars, their start in the ensemble helped to form them as artists. 

Michael Berresse made his Broadway debut in the 1990 revival of Fiddler on the Roof. Since then, he's performed in multiple Broadway companies, directed a Broadway musical - even performed on Broadway as the director of a Broadway musical. He currently plays Bob Mackie and Robert Altman in The Cher Show. Here's our conversation...

Mar 25 2019

24mins

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Rank #18: #157 - My First Time (feat. Desi Oakley)

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Nobody has climbed the Broadway ladder with as comprehensively as Desi Oakley. Fresh off a run as Jenna in the national tour of Waitress, she is currently starring in Chicago on Broadway as the iconic role of Roxie Hart. But that stardom comes on the heels of experience, after standing by for the role of Eva Peron on the national tour of Evita, as well as swinging two Broadway musicals: Annie and Wicked, her Broadway debut. Here’s our conversation...

May 27 2019

13mins

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Rank #19: #139 - Broadway Debuts (feat. Kimberly Dodson, Tiana Okoye, Nikhil Saboo, Jack Sippel and Khadija Tariyan)

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Today, we have some really fantastic stories to share from five actors who made their Broadway debuts in 2018. This quintet of triple threats sat down with us in front of a live audience at BroadwayCon 2019 to share what it’s like to have their dreams fulfilled by performing on Broadway. 

Mar 04 2019

22mins

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Rank #20: #163 - Let's Talk About Auditions (feat. Stephen Oremus)

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Stephen Oremus’ resume as music supervisor is a literal catalog of the 21st Century Broadway hits: Wicked, Kinky Boots, Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon and Frozen. He also supervised or continues to supervise many of those shows’ international productions a well. He was the conductor on the film of Frozen, and music directed both The Wiz Live! And Rent Live! Oh, and he’s a two-time Tony Award winner. He’s one of the busiest guys I know but also one of the most gracious which is why I’m so glad he took the time to sit down with me and chat. Here’s our conversation...

Jun 17 2019

17mins

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