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 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.
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.
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.