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“Dem Bruce Gals”- Sisters Bonded Through Broadway

Posted by:  Ensemble Arts Philly on June 07, 2024

The Bruce Sisters are like fireworks: they are bright, bubbly, and bring the party wherever they go! Their laughter and energy are infectious; it is impossible to not smile when in their orbit. Philadelphia natives Ella, Taara, and Nicole (Nikki) Bruce – affectionally known as the Bruce Sisters or on social media as “#dembrucegals” – have been performing arts fans their entire lives, and Ella and Taara have been loyal Broadway subscribers with us since 2007. During our recent engagement of Hadestown at the Academy of Music, we hired a camera crew to follow the Bruce Sisters and chronicle their evening. After the show, each sister answered our questions about their introduction to the performing arts, which Broadway musicals have resonated with them, and how Ensemble Arts Philly keeps them coming back for more year after year!


Question: What is your favorite part about being a Broadway Series subscriber?


Answer: “I love having a planned night out doing something I love. I also love the Subscriber Perks like early access to not yet released tickets and other programs like The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Jazz Series or even the comedy shows like Vir Das.” - Taara Bruce


Answer: “I love that we have all of our tickets for all the shows paid for and in hand when the season starts. We know we’ve got the best seats possible. Everything we do gets planned around whether or not we have a show going on. I love that it’s a planned night out throughout the year.” - Ella Bruce


Answer: “My favorite part of being a ‘subscriber in the making’...is that it allows me to support something that I am passionate about. I love live entertainment! There is value in being surrounded by creatives. I appreciate the excellence and care that Ensemble Arts Philly pursues in making room for beautiful ideas and talented individuals and keeping art alive and relevant in Philadelphia. Subscribing...gives me the platform to pour into the culture of my city and make it known that great things happen in Philly.” - Nikki Bruce


Question: What makes experiencing shows together with Ensemble Arts Philly special?


Answer: “For me, [it’s] spending time with my sisters in a space and place that encourages us to dream, imagine, be our authentic selves, and have fun together.” - Nikki Bruce


Answer: “I know what I love in Broadway shows, but to experience it with my sisters, [who] are a huge part of why I love it in the first place, is everything. ... We sit in the very front row, and this is not a brag. We hold on to our seat and our [Broadway Series] subscription so that people that look like us see us and so that we see them in all their glory. We sit and stand together, and I am so glad that we get the chance to do it in one of the spaces we love and continue to find joy, Ensemble Arts [Philly]!” - Taara Bruce


Answer: “[Answering this question] made me emotional because I thought of my mom, who passed away in 2008. She was truly a special woman who knew how to make a lot out of a little. We didn’t have much, but she tried to expose us to as many things as she could. I often think of our mother when we take one of our adventures. I think that she is proud of us and would have loved whatever it was that we were doing. We were her girls. When we spend time at the theater, it’s magic!  [Our mother] was all about joy. This is our joy and her legacy! #DemBruceGals!” - Ella Bruce



Bruce sisters 3.jpg

From left to right: Nikki, Ella, and Taara Bruce

Photo Credit: Creative Outfit


Question: When did the three of you first start seeing shows together?


Answer: “As kids, theater was something we did with our mother. There were often bus trips that our church would sponsor, and I believe that was when we first got bitten by the theater bug.” - Nikki Bruce


Answer: “Off [and] on all our lives. In the last 2-3 years is when the magic really happened. We keep each other in the loop for shows as they arise and find ourselves just buying the tickets and making time to go together. It really has become one of my favorite things to do together as sisters.” - Taara Bruce


Answer: “The three of us seeing shows together (consistently) is more recent. Taara and I have had our subscription for over a decade. But every now and then, Nikki would join us for a show. As Nikki’s employment and family life changed and she had more flexibility with her time, it only made sense that she would attend shows on the same night that Taara and I attended the shows.” - Ella Bruce


Question: What was the first Broadway show that you saw with us?


Answer: “That would have been Wicked in 2006. The show was something so different. . .. I got the ticket that I could afford — being single and all — and it was amazing, truly. After seeing Wicked, I knew that I wanted to become a [Broadway Series] subscriber. I have not once regretted that decision.” - Taara Bruce


Answer: “Back when it was Cadillac Broadway series, Taara and I saw Wicked in 2006.” - Ella Bruce


Answer: “The first show I saw [here] was In the Heights at the Academy [of Music]. I enjoyed In the Heights because I could feel myself being a part of the life and culture that I saw on stage.” - Nikki Bruce


Question: What is your favorite Broadway show that you have seen so far with us?


Answer: “Each show always exceeds my expectations...I would have to say FrozenCaroline Bowman (Elsa) blew me away as she channeled Idina Menzel! I fell in love with Lauren Nicole Chapman [as] Anna. She was amazing as [she] captured the fun, honesty, and quirkiness that makes Anna the perfect baby sister!” - Nikki Bruce


Answer: “I’ve loved just about every show I’ve seen...I’m going to say Matilda. The show is so funny, and I just love all of the energy of the characters and the musical numbers are just so well-choreographed.  I think it's a show that really allows adults to revisit our own childhoods.” - Ella Bruce


Answer: “I can’t help it, I have two. Cabaret and Oklahoma. Both were older shows that have been given new life. The productions of each were the first time I had seen them on stage. I really knew nothing about Cabaret, so I was open to all the possibilities. What I felt after seeing that show changed how I looked at storytelling through musicals — just thinking about that production still moves me to tears... I loved every fun, funny, [and] sad moment of it. The set and cast [were] outstanding.” - Taara Bruce


Question: What is your go-to concession when seeing a show?


Answer: “The bar and snacks, but really the bar. I live for all the Broadway Series inspired Cocktails! Run by Fruiting, Cirque Cider, Fetch Fizz and my [favorite], Hakuna Matata of course.” - Taara Bruce


Answer: “When inside the theater, my go-to is usually a gin and tonic, but the bartender in me LOVES a signature-themed cocktail.” - Nikki Bruce


Answer: “I usually head for the merch. I love functional things like mugs or lapel pins. The thing that I get now are refrigerator magnets — they last forever and some of them are really fancy.” - Ella Bruce


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Philadelphia is an arts and culture mecca, and we’ve made it our mission to share the transformative power of the performing arts and arts education with the widest possible audience. We’ve made it easy to Plan Your Visit to Center City, explaining how to find us via public transportation and where to park. We’ve even brainstormed the perfect place to eat, whether for a quick bite or with a large group.


For more information about tickets, or if the fabulous Bruce Sisters inspired you to check out our subscription offerings, we encourage you to visit us at www.ensembleartsphilly.org.



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