The Ensemblist #21: Spotlight On: Stage Managers

13Apr

The Ensemblist is thrilled to announce its new mini-series, “Spotlight On,” which will highlight various behind-the-scenes Broadway careers that are rarely seen by fans. 


You know us for our peek behind the curtain into what-and who- makes a Broadway show. You’ve listened as we’ve interviewed ensemblists from every walk of life about every aspect of being onstage and living that Broadway dream night after night. But who keeps those ensemblists in line? Who is responsible for making sure that everyone, onstage and off, gets to their spots on time and does their jobs the same way every show?


Today on The Ensemblist, we’re going to peel that curtain back even farther- and talk to the real center of each Broadway engine- the Stage Manager. Our three guests have a wealth of experience keeping these shows up and running- from keeping their casts and crews organized to filling out tons of paperwork to teaching new cast members where to go and what to do- it is no easy task, and that’s just the beginning. 


Our Guests:


Zac Chandler (West Side Story, The Addams Family, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Cinderella) 

Mary Macleod (Deuce, A Little Night Music, Sister Act, Flash Dance, Motown, Smokey Joe’s Cafe)

Cody Renard Richard (Lysistrata Jones, Ghost, Cyrano de Bergerac, Motown, After Midnight

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The Ensemblist #20: Associate Choreographers

30Mar

It truly takes a village to put up a Broadway show. If you’ve spent any time looking through a Playbill, you’ve noticed that there’s a whole other credits page. There, you’ll find the listing for the associates- directors, designers, and choreographers. But what does that mean? What does an associate do?


Today on The Ensemblist, we’re going to explore a little-known aspect of what it takes to make those thrilling dances we all know and love- by talking to three INSANELY accomplished current and former Broadway ensemblists who have a whole other job description- as an Associate Choreographer. We’ll find out about what it takes to spend time on both sides of the table, how they were brought on in their respective positions, and how they use those on-the-job skills both onstage and off.

And this week, we have a whole new way to be a part of the conversation. Have you had an associate you’ve loved working with? Or seen a dance and wondered who helped the choreographer create that unbelieveable dance? Tweet us your thoughts and questions as you listen, using the hashtag #ensemblist.

Our Guests: Lorin Latarro (11 Broadway shows as a performer- associate on American Idiot, Hands on a Hardbody, choreographer of Scandalous and Waiting for Godot), Brad Musgrove (3 Broadway shows as a performer, associate choreographer on Pippin and Fosse) and Mark Myars (5 Broadway shows as a performer, current dance supervisor of Wicked, associate choreographer on If/Then)

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The Ensemblist #19: Broadway Debuts

16Mar

From the excitement of getting the job, to the nerve-wracking put-in rehearsal the day of your first performance to the thrill of an opening night, there is no “norm” for making your Broadway debut. Past guests of The Ensemblist Donna Marie Asbury, Jen Cody, Stephanie Klemons, Eddie Korbich, Nina Lafarga, Nathan Peck, Ryan Steele, and Samantha Sturm share hilarious and heartwarming stories of their first nights on the Great White Way, all with one common thread: it is a joy and an honor to join the Broadway community.

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The Ensemblist #18: Original Cast Recordings

2Mar

For many young, aspiring performers, Original Cast Recordings are the first window into the world of Broadway. From studying the golden age classics to keeping up with the most contemporary shows, these albums allow Broadway’s light to shine far beyond Times Square. 


In this episode, Broadway actors Jen Cody, Eddie Korbich, and Samantha Sturm take us through the process of recording these treasured relics. From rehearsals to orchestrations to recording in studios with an abundance of musical history, being a member of an original cast and getting to make an album is a thrilling journey.


Our Guests: Jen Cody (Cats, Grease, Beauty and the Beast, Seussical, Urinetown the musical, Taboo, Best Little Whorehouse, Pajama Game, Shrek, A Christmas Story), Eddie Korbich (Singin’ in the Rain, Sweeney Todd, Carousel, Seussical, Wicked, After the Night and the Music, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Little Mermaid, A Christmas Story, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), and Samantha Sturm (The Addams Family, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Matilda).

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The Ensemblist #17: Long Running Shows

16Feb

The life of an actor is often one of constant change. However,  job security can be found by landing a role in a long-running Broadway hit. If you’re one of those lucky few, you’ll book that job and be able to stay in it for awhile- and become a mainstay of the Great White Way.
Today on The Ensemblist, we talk to three performers who have done just that- stayed in their Broadway shows for two years- and longer! We’ll explore how to keep it fresh night after night, what they love about their jobs, and what it takes to maintain yourself as the years pass. 


Our Guests: Donna Marie Asbury (Gypsy, Merrily We Roll Along, Smile, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Chicago), Scott Barnhardt (Big River, The Book of Mormon), and Nina Lafarga (Aida, Sweet Charity, In the Heights, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown)
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The Ensemblist #16: Dance Captains

2Feb

Co-worker. Supervisor. Confidante. Scene partner. Guidance counselor. All these terms and more describe one of a Broadway company’s least-known but most important cast members: the dance captain.


From running auditions to managing relationships with other members of the creative team to emergency put-in rehearsals, the life of a dance captain is always a busy and complex one. Dance Captains are Broadway’s secret superstars. On this episode, we speak to three incredible performers who have taken on this position about the joys and challenges of leading their companies from within.



Our Guests:

Stephanie Klemons (In the Heights, If/Then), Nathan Peck (Dance of the Vampires, Taboo, Boy from Oz, La Cage Aux Folles, Wicked, Kinky Boots), and Ryan Steele (West Side Story, Billy Elliot, Newsies, Matilda)

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The Ensemblist #15: Married Couples

19Jan


Compiling Equity insurance Weeks and Financial Security…

Lort D Contracts and Wedding Venue Deposits… 

Another actor, to have and hold forever...

Impossible, right?


Turns out, you CAN have it all: There are plenty of successful couples out there who met while they were both ensemblists, and are still thriving today. Plus? They’re cute. In this crazy world of 10 out of 12 techs and 8 show weeks, it’s important to have someone who grounds you, but also understands what drives an artist.

This week on The Ensemblist, we introduce you to two super-awesome married couples- who all have an amazing body of Broadway work between them.


Our Guests:

Kat Nejat (West Side Story, Lysistrata Jones) and Ben Thompson (Green Day’s American Idiot, Matilda the Musical) met in 2004 while performing with Atlanta Theater of the Stars tour of Joseph and the Amazing Color Dreamcoat. 


Megan Sikora (42nd Street, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Wonderful Town, Dracula, Wicked, Curtains, Promises, Promises, How to Succeed…, The Nance) and Barrett Martin (Urban Cowboy, Wicked, Young Frankenstein, Guys and Dolls, The Addams Family, How To Succeed…, Nice Work If You Can Get It) crossed paths briefly for the first time while performing in Wicked on Broadway

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The Ensemblist #14: Audition Stories

5Jan

This week, we welcome Jason Michael Snow to the podcast as our special guest host! (Mo was out of town, but he'll be back for the next episode.)

When we were putting out the call for listener questions, we got a lot of responses asking about the audition process for a Broadway show. Since auditioning is the main job of all performers, we found we had collected a lot of audition stories from our guests that we weren’t able to use in previous episodes. When your questions started rolling in, we knew we had the answers ready.


Along with a basic explanation of the way auditions run for Broadway shows, we have audition stories from previous guests Candi Boyd, Lisa Gajda, Asmeret Ghebremichael, Reed Kelly, Denis Lambert, Ellyn Marie Marsh, Geoff Packard, Jennifer Sanchez, Michaeljon Slinger, Sarrah Strimel and a couple of gems from Jason Michael Snow- stories from the sublime to the absolutely ridiculous.



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The Ensemblist #13: Listener Questions Episode!

16Dec

For The Ensemblist's final episode of 2013, Nikka and Mo put out a call through social media for listeners to ask their own questions about the Broadway experience. Fans submitted their questions through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email and at theensemblist.com. The result is this supersized, action-packed episode featuring interviews with SEVEN Broadway actors covering topics from understudying, rehearsing, and taking over iconic roles to choosing colleges and offering audition tips!


Our Guests: 

Lauren Molina (Rock of Ages, Sweeney Todd), Shina Ann Morris (Annie, Nice Work if You Can Get It, West Side Story, Anything Goes), Chelsea Packard (Wicked, Hands on a Hardbody, Promises Promises), Andy Richardson (Newsies, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Gypsy), Nic Rouleau (The Book of Mormon), Aléna Watters (Sister Act, The Addams Family, West Side Story), and Ryan Worsing (Chicago, Shrek, White Christmas).

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The Ensemblist #12: Holidays on Broadway

1Dec

Today on The Ensemblist, we talk about what it’s like to celebrate the holidays while in a Broadway show. We speak to three actors about their crazy show schedules, cool Broadway holiday traditions (like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, door decorating contests, and Carols for a Cure)- and how they find ways to celebrate with both their co-workers backstage and their families at home. 


Our Guests: Asmeret Ghebremichael has performed on Broadway in The Book of Mormon, Elf, Legally Blonde, Spamalot, Wicked and Footloose


Brian O’Brien made his Broadway debut in the company of Steel Pier, and has since performed on the Great White Way in Beauty and the Beast, Annie Get Your Gun, The Pirate Queen, Promises, Promises and now, Chicago


Having spent over a decade in the cast of Mamma Mia!, Gerard Salvador shared stories about some of the show’s unique backstage traditions.

Listen Now:


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