Zoe Ennis is a sophomore in high school, a member of the theater company, and a girl with more than 67,500 follows on Instagram. That’s right. At 16-years-old, she is Broadway Ambassador and a social media sensation.
Through her Instagram account, known as @basically_broadway, life began to take center stage for Ennis. The summer before she began sixth grade, she created the account when she discovered her passion for the theater.
After seeing one of her first Broadway shows, The Phantom of the Opera, Ennis’ life was chaged. “I don’t think I’ll ever forget it,” she remembers. “Having your ticket scanned and receiving your playbill. There is no other experience like it. You can’t replicate feeling the presence of everyone inside of the theater, from the actors backstage to the audience members beside you, and sharing the sense of excitement. It is so unique.”
She had developed a passion for Broadway, however Ennis lacked people to share it with. Her friends didn’t seem to understand her love for theater. She created her Broadway account in order to express her enthusiasm and connect with people around the world.
Originally, her account existed purely to express her love for The Phantom of the Opera. Although, as she gained followers, she was recommended new musicals to explore. She fell in love with them all.
Ennis had been a ballet dancer for most of her life, although she recognized that it wasn’t the technique she had a love for, but rather the performing aspect. She decided to become involved with school and community theater productions. “It made me feel something I’ve never felt before. Passion.”
Beginning singing lessons and acting classes, Ennis has grown as a performer and feels as though she has found her calling. “Life is really short, but when you are involved in theater, you experience so many different things you don’t get to do in everyday life,” she explains. “You feel a greater sense of purpose because you’ve experienced and done so much.”
Ennis also feels that theater has helped her to develop as a person. “While acting, you learn to understand people more as you dive into the different characters you play. It helps you to become more empathetic. I enjoy exploring my character’s emotions.”
Over time, followers attracted to her Instagram account as it grew. Ennis had never expected her account to grow into the sensation is has become but enjoys keeping up with her account as well as her blogs. She tracks everything Broadway-related, from new musicals and Tony awards to the names of actors playing roles. She also explores the world of West End productions in London as well as touring and off-Broadway shows.
Her social media presence has given her multiple opportunities. She is able to connect with Broadway actors and inquire for interviews and “Instagram Story Takeovers,” when an actor will log into her account to interact with her followers and describe what a normal day looks like as a performer. Posting once a day, Ennis uploads videos and pictures of Broadway-related content and performances.
In addition, Ennis is approached by productions to do advertising for them and, in turn, is invited to participate in events. Last year, she was welcomed to attend a private cast-album release party for the Broadway show Pretty Woman where she met performers Samantha Barks and Andy Karl. More recently, she was invited to the Broadway premiere of Six, a current musical hit.
Unsure of what the future may hold, Zoe Ennis hopes to continue her social media presence for as long as she can and does not see it ending any time soon. “I love meeting new people who love Broadway as much as I do. It builds a sense of community.”
She is grateful for the opportunities she has been given and is thankful that she decided to share her passion with the world. Ennis’ life would be drastically different without the creation of @basically_broadway. “Jump in and share your passion with others,” she advises. “You never know what could happen.”