Recognition for Broadway’s choruses and ensembles
Powerful lyrics, incredible musical arrangements, casts in lavish, gorgeous costumes, performing choreography on an imaginatively designed set. Going to the theater is notable, and memorable, because it is so immersive. It’s like being transported from a theater seat in Times Square, or a local repertory house, to a new world.
And that’s all thanks to the work of dozens of people. They prepare for weeks, sometimes months, planning, practicing, and rehearsing so that when the curtain goes up, something magical happens.
Every spring, the Tony Awards celebrate the finest theatrical work of the Broadway year. At the Tonys, writers are honored for creating the blueprints to these worlds we know and love; and directors recognized for bringing those worlds to life. Leading actors and actresses are celebrated for iconic and timeless performances, and the best overall shows of the year are acknowledged as the pinnacle of theatrical achievement.
But from the earliest days of the Tony Awards to today, there are still those who do not receive recognition for their roles in bringing these shows to the stage: the chorus and ensemble performers of Broadway productions.
Chorus and ensemble performers add richness and depth to Broadway productions. Their tireless efforts are vital to making a good show great, and creating those full-company, show-stopping moments we know and love. In some ensemble-driven shows, the way the ensemble interacts is the show.
Many chorus and ensemble performers spend their entire careers in these critically important roles, and are never eligible for the level of recognition that a Tony Award brings.
The chorus and ensemble members in Broadway productions have always been an indispensable part of your favorite Broadway shows. The time is long overdue to recognize their contributions publicly. Join us as we work to bring to life two new Tony Award categories in 2019: Best Chorus in a Play or Musical and Best Ensemble in a Play or Musical.
It is time that we truly celebrate Everyone on Stage.
Everyone On Stage is a campaign of Actors’ Equity Association. Founded in 1913, Equity is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA.
What We’re Asking For
We’re asking the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing—the two organizations that work together to produce the Tony Awards each year—to add two new awards categories in the 2020 Tony Awards (covering the 2019-2020 season): Best Chorus in a Play or Musical and Best Ensemble in a Play or Musical.
Actors’ Equity defines a Chorus as a group in a Musical or singing and/or dancing group that makes up part of a Dramatic Play (excluding extra and walk-on parts, and Chorus roles where the members speak but do not sing or dance). Actors’ Equity considers an Ensemble to be the entire cast of a Musical or Play, inclusive of all principal, featured, chorus and swing roles.
Above: Jeremy Davis, the senior member of the chorus, being honored by Actors’ Equity and the members of the company on the opening night of Frozen on Broadway.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
First, sign our petition. We need the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing to see strong public support for this change.
Second, tell your friends. If you’re on social media, show your support using #EveryoneOnStage.
Finally, support professional live theater in every way you can! Buy tickets, talk about productions you like, and follow your favorite performers’ careers, both in real life and on social media.