#209 – Creating Characters (feat. Jennifer Smith)

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From Nellie Forbush to Evan Hansen, the librettos of Broadway musicals have been filled with complex characters for almost a century. And while those roles were originated and revived by astonishing actors, much of what makes those characters so fascinating is on the page, meaning written into the script itself.

That’s what makes the work of our guests for this mini-series so remarkable. They’ve taken small supporting parts and turned them into fully realized characters – feeling just as developed and grounded as the leading counterparts. And what makes them even more remarkable is that they are often doing this for multiple characters within the same show.

Jennifer Smith is a legend of the Broadway stage. In the last 35 years, she originated and understudies more than 40 roles on Broadway. Back in 2016, she joined Ensemblist co-creator Nikka Graff Lanzarone and I in the studio to talk about creating ensemble roles in four of her Broadway shows: Tuck Everlasting, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, The Producers and Victor/Victoria. Here’s our conversation…