- Student Columnist
There were many amazing, memorable moments from the 2018 Tony Awards: The students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School's incredible and touching rendition of "Seasons of Love", the Carousel cast's show-stopping choreographed performance, Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles' quirky yet charming hosting, the Dear Evan Hansen cast's beautiful medley of "You Will Be Found" and "For Forever", Lindsay Mendez's acceptance speech, the #TonyDreaming montages, the list could go on and on.
However, the moment that had me shouting and cheering from my living room happened only moments into the broadcast. Over halfway through Barielles' and Groban's incredibly catchy opening number, ensemble performers from each "Best Musical" nominated show shared the stage with the hosts. The talented performers would go on to sing and dance backup for the hosts in true ensemble fashion and later, support their individual casts in their respective performances and prove exactly why Groban dubbed them "the hardest working men and women on Broadway".
Why is this important? Because even though we're in the generation of shows like Hamilton and Come From Away, where the ensemble is more important than ever, they still go disgracefully unnoticed on the biggest night for Broadway.
"The hardest working men and women on Broadway" go unnoticed far too often. People don't know their names, they go unnoticed at stage doors, they get paid less than principle performers, and they don't get the opportunity to be recognized with a category of their own at the Tony awards.
Did this moment solidify a category for "Best Ensemble"? Maybe not, but it's about time we recognize some of the most hardworking performers in the industry. After all, what would some of our favorite shows even look like without ensemble performers? No chimney sweeps, newsies, ozians, dancing silverware; no showstopping dance numbers or insanely powerful harmonies that resonate through the whole theater.
We're doing so well with including all the unsung heroes of Broadway; the lighting designers, costume designers, sound designers, set designers but we're still not done yet. Ensemble, replacement casts, hair/makeup designers, understudies, individual songs, musicians, all still need to recognize on the same level as principal actors and actresses, musicals, directors.
This seemingly small moment was huge for all ensemble performers, from local theatre to Broadway because every performer deserves to be celebrated and recognized for their incredible talents. Despite, all the incredible shows that were celebrated this past weekend and the artists of all kinds that took awards home with them, the true winners this year, were ensemble performers everywhere. With enough luck, maybe they'll be properly awarded next year.