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Arts
Performing Arts

The Ensemblist

Updated 4 days ago

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. In addition, our monthly episodes feature readings of the most popular posts from our blog as well as show reviews.The Ensemblist podcast has more than a million podcast downloads and was recently named one of the Top 50 Best Selling Performing Arts Podcasts of all time.

Read more

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. In addition, our monthly episodes feature readings of the most popular posts from our blog as well as show reviews.The Ensemblist podcast has more than a million podcast downloads and was recently named one of the Top 50 Best Selling Performing Arts Podcasts of all time.

iTunes Ratings

309 Ratings
Average Ratings
289
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

309 Ratings
Average Ratings
289
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

Updated 4 days ago

Read more

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. In addition, our monthly episodes feature readings of the most popular posts from our blog as well as show reviews.The Ensemblist podcast has more than a million podcast downloads and was recently named one of the Top 50 Best Selling Performing Arts Podcasts of all time.

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: #81: Audition Stories (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 #3: #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 #4: #159 - Let's Talk About Auditions (feat. Rachel Hoffman)

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Welcome to a new mini-series from The Ensemblist where I sit down with folks on the other side of the casting table to ask them what they’re really looking for in a Broadway ensemble. As performers, we hear time and again that the folks casting shows want auditioners to succeed. But what does that success actually look like? 

Rachel Hoffman is a casting director with Telsey + Company, which she joined after beginning her career on the team at Dave Clemmons casting almost 20 years ago. In the last decade, Hoffman has been on the casting team of 10 Broadway musicals, including the Tony Award-winning Memphis. Her work can currently be seen with the companies of Come From Away, Frozen and Beetlejuice. In addition to her work as casting director, she is also a sought-after instructor and proud (very proud, maybe too proud?) graduate of the University of Michigan. 

In the studio, I asked her about what makes a good audition, what not to wear and her favorite story of an ensemble actor shining in the audition room. Here’s our conversation...

Jun 03 2019

14mins

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Rank #5: #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 #6: #178 - Let's Talk About Auditions (feat. Stephanie Klemons - Part 2)

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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 on top of being a wife and mother. 

Aug 12 2019

17mins

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Rank #7: #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 #8: #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 #9: #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 #10: #156 - My First Time (feat. Ashley Park)

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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.  

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 #11: #162 - Let's Talk About Auditions (feat. Spencer Liff)

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Welcome to a new mini-series from The Ensemblist where I sit down with folks on the other side of the casting table to ask them what they’re really looking for in a Broadway ensemble. As performers, we hear time and again that the folks casting shows want auditioners to succeed. But what does that success actually look like? 

Spencer Liff began his Broadway career as a dancer, performing in the original companies of Big, The Wedding Singer and Cry-Baby. But for the last ten years, Liff has worked on the other side of the table creating staging for both stage and screen. He’s an Emmy nominee for his work on “So You Think You Can Dance” where he has been a resident choreographer for a decade. Back on Broadway, he’s created the staging for Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Spring Awakening, Falsettos and Head Over Heels. 

I recently was able to speak with him on a short trip to New York where he was here casting a new workshop of Reefer Madness. Here’s our conversation…

Jun 13 2019

18mins

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Rank #12: #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 #13: #198 - Ifcome TM (feat. Ali Solomon)

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The relationship between money and psychology is tricky for anybody, but perhaps no one as much as an actor. Much of what makes finances hard for actors to negotiate is the fact that we can’t depend on a steady paycheck. If you don’t know how much money you’ll make this year - let alone in five years - how can you plan for the future?

Ali Solomon has worked on both sides of the Broadway proscenium. She made her Broadway debut as a swing in Finding Neverland. But she’s spent more time working on the choreographic teams of Broadway musicals, including Beautiful and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I asked her into the studio to talk about how balancing two careers affects her finances, and what - if any - stability she finds in a career where she’s constantly wearing different hats. Here’s our conversation...

Oct 21 2019

17mins

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Rank #14: #172 - Way Down Hadestown (feat. John Krause)

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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.

John Krause made his Broadway debut as a replacement in the company of Fun Home. He’s toured in American Idiot and Wicked, as well as playing Drew in the Las Vegas sit-down production of Rock of Ages. John plays Worker #3 in Hadestown as well as understudying the role of Orephus. Here’s our conversation...

Jul 22 2019

19mins

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Rank #15: #157 - My First Time (feat. Desi Oakley)

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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. 

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 #16: #186 - Hurt and Healing (feat. Caissie Levy)

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As performers, our bodies are our instruments. We use our physical beings to create sounds, embody characters and tell stories. So when that physical instrument is suffering, how does that affect a performers’ artistry? And, perhaps more importantly, what does it do to a performer’s psyche when they aren’t able to work to the best of their abilities.

That’s a conversation I wanted to explore in this new mini-series Hurt and Healed: an honest look into actors’ injuries, recoveries and the stigma that comes from not being able to be your best onstage.

There is not a theatre performer who leads with more grace than Caissie Levy. Yes, she’s played some of the most iconic roles in Broadway history - from Elphaba in Wicked to Fantine in Les Miserables - but she’s also a warm soul that pulses with kindness.

...it’s probably because she’s Canadian, eh?

Recently, Caissie (who currently leads the Broadway cast of Frozen as Elsa, opened up on social media about a vocal fold injury she incurred during a decade ago, how she worked towards recovery and the stigma she still sometimes endures as a result. Here’s our conversation...

Sep 09 2019

21mins

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Rank #17: #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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Rank #18: #185 - The Chorus Kid (feat. Casey Nicholaw - Part 2)

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Welcome back to the second part of my interview with director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw about some of his favorite numbers in his Broadway shows.

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.

Sep 05 2019

16mins

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Rank #19: #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 #20: #196 - Ifcome TM (feat. Andy Tofa)

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The relationship between money and psychology is tricky for anybody, but perhaps no one as much as an actor. Much of what makes finances hard for actors to negotiate is the fact that we can’t depend on a steady paycheck. If you don’t know how much money you’ll make this year - let alone in five years - how can you plan for the future?

Andy Tofa is currently touring the country with Hamilton after performing regionally at The Muny, Ogunquit and Gateway Playhouses. We spoke over the phone about his financial philosophy and how he created it thanks to financial insight training. Here's our conversation...

Oct 14 2019

17mins

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