Chorus and ensemble stories

Cast of 'Frozen' on opening night

ACCA Award Winners

  • 2007 – LEGALLY BLONDE
  • 2008 – IN THE HEIGHTS
  • 2009 – WEST SIDE STORY
  • 2010 – FELA!
  • 2011 – THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS
  • 2012 – NEWSIES
  • 2013 – PIPPIN
  • 2014 – BEAUTIFUL – The Carole King Musical
  • 2015 – AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
  • 2016 – SHUFFLE ALONG
  • 2017 – GREAT COMET

You can see dozens more photos of full Broadway casts on opening night, including  past Gypsy Robe presentation ceremonies, in Equity’s Facebook photo album.

Without choruses and ensembles, the Broadway experience you love just wouldn’t be the same. That’s why we launched the Everyone On Stage campaign—to encourage the Tony Awards to honor these hardworking performers beginning next year.

Here at Actors’ Equity Association—the labor union representing American actors and stage managers in the professional theater—we understand the value of working together to make great performances happen. Every year, thousands of our members work together, as part of large casts under Equity contracts, to make great shows happen.

That work happens behind the scenes and on the stage, in New York and at great theaters across America. Some of that work is individual—developing their characters, rehearsing their lines, doing their voice exercises and practicing their dance steps. But more of it involves people working together. They plan the show, block scenes, rehearse song and dance. Every sound you hear on stage, every movement you see, is the end result of collective effort by dozens and sometimes hundreds of members of the company.

We know chorus and ensemble performers work as hard as anyone else on that stage. They’re just as dedicated as anyone else—and their work is just as important to the final product as anyone else’s. Equity honors our performers with more than a dozen awards, including the ACCA Award, which we’ve given to an Outstanding Broadway Chorus each season for a decade. Every member of the chorus receives an ACCA award, because we understand that choral performance only works when everyone pulls together.

We also celebrate everyone on stage working together via the ritual of the Gypsy Robe, in which we ceremonially present the senior chorus member with a celebratory robe on opening night, which he or she parades around the stage while cast members touch the robe for good luck. The Robe tradition goes back 70 years, and is a meaningful moment that brings casts together as one in the moments before a new show opens on Broadway.

We’re proud of our ACCA Award winners, and the Gypsy Robe tradition is meaningful to our Broadway performers. But these traditions can’t stand in for a Tony—the American theater’s highest honor. Please join us in asking the Tony Awards to honor our hardworking chorus and ensemble performers, without whom the Broadway theater you love couldn’t possibly happen.

Full company of "Miss Saigon" on opening night

Broadway companies on opening night. Top: Frozen. Above: Miss Saigon.

Chorus members making their Broadway debut in "Escape to Margaritaville"
Cast of 'Once On This Island' on opening night

Left: Chorus members making their Broadway debut in Escape from Margaritaville on opening night. Above: Once On This Island cast on opening night.