Actors/Actresses who get Underestimated

In the musical theatre world, there are a LOT of talented actors and actresses, but a number of them get underestimated. They are NOT given the respect they deserve or are believed they don’t have talent. I will talk about those kind of people on this post.

Understudies/ Standbys/Swings:

Understudies are super IMPORTANT in the musical theatre world. Without them, theatre would be in trouble. More shows would be cancelled. These actors/actresses are believed to NOT have much TALENT at all. I believe in so many ways, they almost have MORE talent than the main actor and actress- I am saying that because the understudies have to memorize more. I have seen a number of understudies and have truly learned to respect them- Grace Morgan (Christine), Lisa Karlin (Leading Player), Sam Lips (Pippin), Adam Bayjou (Jean Valjean), Mary Kate Morrissey (Elphaba), Kaitlyn Frank (Katherine Plumber), Talia Simone Robinson (Eponine), and my recent Rafiki and Pumba (only said it like that because don’t know the names of the understudies). All of the people I said except for Mary Kate Morrissey are understudies- every night, they usually are in the ensemble- so not only do they have to memorize their ensemble track- they also have to memorize the roles that they understudy. Even though Mary Kate Morrissey only had to memorize Elphaba, it is still just as hard. The characters they were playing were either characters I was discovering for the first time or characters that I was not. These actors/actresses are highly underappreciated- I saw them from the years 2014-2018.

As for the swings, they have to work even harder than the understudies. They have to cover ALL the ensemble roles. That is very difficult to do- having to memorize all of that- that takes a lot of talent to memorize all of that. To be able to memorize each of the ensemble’s members’ blocking and lines- have no idea how they do it.

Ensemble:

Yes, I said the ensemble. Some people might think the lead roles are MORE important than the ensemble, but the vast MAJORITY of the cast is found in the ensemble. Sometimes, someone from an ensemble becomes a lead in the future. The ensemble is where you find the understudies. They are just as important as the leads. Yes, it is the leads we memorize the actors/actresses’ names, but we still have to understand the importance of the ensemble. They form so many important characters- like students, newsboys, citizens, etc.- you get the picture. It is why we are able to have the dance.

Child Actors:

I believe that some people think that the child actors/actresses don’t work as hard or don’t have the talent that the other cast members do. Some people don’t’ want to see shows like Annie all because it has too many child actresses in it. The children work just as hard as the other actors- they are a part of other musicals- Annie, A Christmas Story, Les Mis, Music Man, Pippin, Sound of Music, Oliver. Don’t look at them any less than anyone else.

These actors/actresses- the understudies, the standbys, the swings, the ensemble, and the children should never be under-appreciated. There is a lot of talent on stage- in everyone. That cast has worked so hard- to the audience, the cast makes it look easy, but in reality you have no idea how much work they put into creating that show. Appreciate everyone- respect everyone.


Favorite Ensemble Songs

Today will be another list. I wrote musical songs posts before, but I don’t think I ever wrote a list of ensemble songs. The ensemble songs tend to be where the dance is, but sometimes those songs don’t have dance in them at all.

  1. Look Down
  2. At The End of the Day
  3. One Day More
  4. Do You Hear the People Sing
  5. Red and Black
  6. One Short Day
  7. Dancing Through Life
  8. What Is This Feeling
  9. Seize the Day
  10. The World Will Know
  11. Carrying the Banner
  12. King of New York
  13. Once and For All
  14. NYC
  15. Hard Knock Life
  16. Your’e Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile
  17. Wells Fargo Wagon
  18. Magic to Do
  19. Be Our Guest
  20. Belle
  21. Oklahoma
  22. Farmers and Cowboys
  23. Tradition
  24. There Is Nothing Like a Dame
  25. Morning Glow
  26. Rent
  27. Seasons of Love
  28. La Vie Boheme
  29. Finale B
  30. Finale (Les Mis)
  31. Drink With Me
  32. Master of the House
  33. Consider Yourself
  34. There’s No Business Like Show Business
  35. Masquerade
  36. We Beseech Thee
  37. Prepare Ye
  38. Prologue: Jellicle for Jellicle Cats
  39. Gaston

Explosion of Musical Songs

One favorite moment of musical songs are the moments when they explode. But exactly do I mean by those moments? For me, I know the answer, but is very hard to describe. The explosion are moments in songs where they become even better.

In the exciting numbers, they tend to start out slow. The explosion of those songs happens when those songs suddenly speed up. In those moments, the dance and spectacle truly kicks off. Those are the moments I refer to as show-tunes. Songs that explode like that include “Seize the Day”, “Dancing Through Life”, “Magic to Do”, and “One Short Day” among many others.

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The other moments of explosion are a bit more difficult to describe. One instance of exploding in a duet are when someone else joins in on the song. Most duets just happen to be love songs between two people who have fallen in love. The duets tend to have two exploding moments. The first time is when a second person starts singing, but they not be necessarily singing in harmony with the other person. The second time of explosion is when both actors are singing the song on top of each other. Those love songs include “As Long Your’e Mine”, “Something to Believe In”, “Younger Than Springtime”, “Tonight”, and “I Should Tell You” among many others.

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There are other musical duets that are not dealing with two characters falling in love. Some of those duets are death songs and friendship songs. They also explode when the songs actually becomes a duet, which always happens when a second person joins the picture. Those type of songs include “A Little Fall of Rain”, “Come To Me”, “Santa Fe (Prologue)”, and “For Good” among others. Just like the other duets, these songs have two moments of explosion.  The first happens when a second person actually sings, but the other person may not be necessarily singing at the same time. The second time tends to happen when both people are singing at once.

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Even unrequited love songs have moments of explosion. In “On My Own” for instance, it has a wonderful moment of explosion. The song does have an introduction and the song actually begins after the introduction ends. But the exploding moment of that song happens at the beginning of that incredible crescendo.

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There are other songs that have exploding moments, but a bit difficult to describe. These songs tends to explode when the song decides to have a different melody. In “Once and For All” for instance, there is a moment in the song where they are singing a different melody towards the end. Even “Brooklyn’s Here” has that type of moment and it occurs once everyone in that song sings with even more passion and makes the songs even better. So overall, the exploding moments happen when there is either a sudden melody change, when a song speeds up, whenever there is a crescendo, and those two moments in a duet.

In your opinion, what does it mean for a song to explode?

Importance of the Ensemble in Musicals

As important as leads are in musicals, the people who make up the ensemble are just as important. Without the ensemble, you literally have no show and there is even less excitement and joy in a musical experience. The vast majority of a musical’s cast are in the ensemble. Found within the ensemble are understudies who cover for the leads in case they are out. The ensemble truly helps with believability.

For the most part, the ensemble helps create many different types of characters. For example in Wicked, the ensemble creates the extra students who attend Shiz and even create citizens of OZ. Without those pieces of Wicked, you are leaving out a lot of things that are beneficial to Wicked. Like in the case of Newsies, the ensemble mostly creates up the rest of the Newsies and their brotherhood is so important which is why you need the ensemble to create the other Newsboys. In the show, you mainly get to meet Jack Kelly, Davey, Les, and Crutchie, but you need the other Newsies for the story to make sense. Even in the case of Les Mis, the ensemble creates citizens of France, creates the rest of the students outside of Enjolras and Marius.

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Just like leads, the ensemble also helps with musical emotions. They help express both positive and negative emotions. When I was younger, it was the exciting numbers that I loved the most. Now I have come to realize that the ensemble also creates negative emotions as well such as both versions of “Look Down”, “At the End of the Day”, and in Wicked, “What is This Feeling”. But in the Wicked song, to this day, it is the dancing that I look forward to the most even though it is important to understand that Elphaba and Glinda once strongly disliked each other.

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Whenever I see a musical, the ensemble is highly important to create an incredible cast. When it comes to a wonderful cast, I want to see a strong ensemble and a strong set of leads. In a lot of ways, I feel like the ensemble has to work harder than the actual leads especially when it comes to the understudies and swings. Without the ensemble, you are left with virtually nothing and a lot of believability will be lost.

Why do you think the ensemble is beneficial?