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True Ensemble Shows

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Hot Pants
Leading Actor
joined:4/24/19
Leading Actor
joined:
4/24/19
True Ensemble Shows#1
Posted: 7/27/20 at 6:29pm
What are shows that are truly ensemble efforts, where all actors have equal prominence, whether that means theyre all leads or theyre all supporting.
MollyJeanneMusic
Broadway Star
joined:3/10/19
Broadway Star
joined:
3/10/19
True Ensemble Shows#2
Posted: 7/27/20 at 7:29pm

A Chorus Line, Six, and Come From Away are shows that instantly come to mind.  There are also shows like Newsies, while, where there's a distinct lead and supporting roles, everyone gets a pretty equal amount of time in the limelight.  I was in the ensemble of the junior production, and it's still one of the most involved ensembles of which I've been a part.

"It's you." "It's me. Orpheus." "Eurydice..." *crying*
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TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Legend
joined:12/7/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
12/7/12
True Ensemble Shows#3
Posted: 7/27/20 at 8:08pm
Title of Show
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TotallyEffed
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/07
Broadway Legend
joined:
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True Ensemble Shows#4
Posted: 7/27/20 at 8:11pm
Edwin Drood, RENT, See What I Wanna See, Assassins, Spelling Bee, Avenue Q, Hair, Drowsy Chaperone.
AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
Broadway Legend
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True Ensemble Shows#5
Posted: 7/27/20 at 10:34pm

Godspell

Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
Templeton33
Swing
joined:5/9/11
Swing
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5/9/11
True Ensemble Shows#6
Posted: 7/28/20 at 7:01am

Does Chicago count?  All actors have character names, dialogue and are on stage for practically the entire show.  Also, individual bows at curtain call. 

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JBroadway
Broadway Legend
joined:4/6/12
Broadway Legend
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True Ensemble Shows#7
Posted: 7/28/20 at 10:47am

There's definitely a wide spectrum here. I would say that a majority of "ensemble shows" still have a lead, and/or actors have more prominent parts than others. Or even if the stage-time is the same for everybody, there are characters who are highlighted in the story more prominently than others. Even a Chorus Line has Cassie, even Spelling Bee has Olive, even Angels in America has Prior, even Godspell has Jesus, even Cats has Grizabella, and so on and so forth. Then you have shows like, say, The 39 Steps, where all 4 tracks have equal time in the spotlight, but there's still one actor who plays the protagonist of the story. So from a storytelling perspective, he's still the "lead." 

 

 As far as musicals go, I think that Six and Come From Away are two of the "purest" examples of ensemble shows, as described the the OP: "where all actors have equal prominence, whether that means they're all leads or they're all supporting."  But I think this degree of "purity" in an ensemble show is pretty rare: most of the time, you still have some roles that are more prominent than others, even if they're all onstage for the whole time.

But for what it's worth, here are some other shows that I would classify as "pure" ensemble shows, as described by the OP (I'm counting 3-handers, but not 2-handers, because most 2-person plays have equally-sized parts, but that doesn't feel like it's in the spirit of this thread): 

--The Children

--The Humans

--Ain't No Mo' 

--Describe the Night

--Days of Rage 

--The Antipodes

--Ghost Quartet (though the 2 women are arguable more important to the story than the 2 men) 

--Miles For Mary (and Mrs Murray's Menagerie, by the same group)

--One Night in Miami 

--Songs For a New World 

--Assassins comes pretty damn close, but you could kind of make a case that Booth is a bit more central than the others.

 

 

 

Scott Stephen
Swing
joined:10/21/19
Swing
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True Ensemble Shows#8
Posted: 7/28/20 at 2:58pm
Into the Woods immediately comes to mind. Some roles are bigger than others but I can’t think of true “lead” in that show.
viagalactica6
Chorus Member
joined:7/9/08
Chorus Member
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7/9/08
True Ensemble Shows#9
Posted: 7/29/20 at 4:02pm

The Me Nobody Knows

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IronMan
Stand-by
joined:2/6/13
Stand-by
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True Ensemble Shows#10
Posted: 7/29/20 at 6:52pm

One of my all-time favorites:

WORKING 

"What- and quit show business?" - the guy shoveling elephant shit at the circus.
Joshua Rosenthal
Understudy
joined:8/13/17
Understudy
joined:
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True Ensemble Shows#11
Posted: 7/30/20 at 10:15am
Hairspray and Pippin. In both the ensemble is very important to help further along the story and considering a lot of the scenes, song and story just won’t do well without an ensemble in Hairspray, and in Pippin, it just makes sense since the show is to the theme of a circus so you need ppl to play the parts, likewise there are just many scenes in which no ensemble wouldn’t badge sense
Joshua Rosenthal
Understudy
joined:8/13/17
Understudy
joined:
8/13/17
True Ensemble Shows#12
Posted: 7/30/20 at 10:15am
Hairspray and Pippin. In both the ensemble is very important to help further along the story and considering a lot of the scenes, song and story just won’t do well without an ensemble in Hairspray, and in Pippin, it just makes sense since the show is to the theme of a circus so you need ppl to play the parts, likewise there are just many scenes in which no ensemble wouldn’t badge sense
Joshua Rosenthal
Understudy
joined:8/13/17
Understudy
joined:
8/13/17
True Ensemble Shows#13
Posted: 7/30/20 at 10:15am
Hairspray and Pippin. In both the ensemble is very important to help further along the story and considering a lot of the scenes, song and story just won’t do well without an ensemble in Hairspray, and in Pippin, it just makes sense since the show is to the theme of a circus so you need ppl to play the parts, likewise there are just many scenes in which no ensemble wouldn’t badge sense
rattleNwoolypenguin
Broadway Star
joined:10/11/11
Broadway Star
joined:
10/11/11
True Ensemble Shows#14
Posted: 7/30/20 at 12:28pm

I'd also add You're a Good Man Charlie Brown.

rattleNwoolypenguin
Broadway Star
joined:10/11/11
Broadway Star
joined:
10/11/11
True Ensemble Shows#15
Posted: 7/30/20 at 12:28pm

I'd also add You're a Good Man Charlie Brown.