UA-40868602-1 2015 April
The Ensemblist
#47: [DRessed as] A Girl: on Broadway

#47: [DRessed as] A Girl: on Broadway

April 19, 2015

One of the oldest conventions in theatre history since the Greeks is making a slightly newer cultural splash. Across all media platforms, gender roles in storytelling are becoming more fluid, as men are donning heels and wigs to play women, transgender actors and characters are in the spotlight, and drag is as forward and fierce as ever.


As RuPaul famously said: “You’re born naked and the rest is drag.” And in theatre, that is even more true, as no one who walks in the stage door at half hour is who they will eventually become by places.


As we started researching the proliferation of drag on Broadway, we began to realize it wasn’t JUST drag. Playing Edna Turnblad in Hairspray is very different than playing Albin in La Cage aux Folles. But there’s something that unites these characters beyond the high heels, and we wanted to explore that further. 


So, for this episode of The Ensemblist, we spoke to three actors who identify as male, and have played roles on Broadway outside their own gender: one a woman, one a drag queen and one a transwoman. They talk about their approach to their roles, their auditions, and things they've learned along the way.


Our Guests:

Gregory Haney (Tarzan, Memphis, Bring it On, Wicked)

Blake Hammond (Living on Love, First Date, Sister Act, Elf, Billy Elliot, Hairspray, The Lion King, Kiss Me Kate, The Music Man, On the Town)

Joey Taranto (Rock of Ages, Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, Kinky Boots)

#46: Ballet on Broadway

#46: Ballet on Broadway

April 5, 2015

Ballet is BACK on Broadway! With musicals like On The Town and An American in Paris popping up in midtown this season, classical dance is making a grande jete into the theatre scene like we haven’t seen in a long time, and Broadway ensemblists are being joined by stars of the classical dance world to bring this venerable art form back to the main stem!


On this episode of The Ensemblist, we spoke to three Broadway dancers who started out in the classical and concert dance worlds. Hear about their transitions to Broadway, how working on a theatre production is different in rehearsals and tech, and what it feels like speak on stage for the first time after years of performing without words. 


Our Guests:

Sara Esty (An American in Paris) - former Soloist with the Miami City Ballet

Stephen Hanna (On The Town, Billy Elliot) - former Principal dancer with the New York City Ballet

Christopher Vo (On The Town, The King & I) - former touring member of the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company