All Roles Are Created Equal

Sarah Cagle

  • Student Columnist

"Better luck next time."

As a frequent ensemble member, let me clear this up once and for all: an ensemble role is just as important and gratifying as a lead role. 

Yes, I understand. You see Mary Poppins, and the entire show hangs in the balance of the chemistry between Mary and Bert or maybe it's Belle and the Beast or Jack and Katherine or any other leads in the history of theatre. Don't get me wrong, these roles are insanely important and I'm not trying to demean them in the least; but take it from an audience member as well as an actor, the leads could be the most talented people in your community but if the ensemble isn't bringing their best to the stage, it has the potential to ruin the show. 

Think about your favorite group numbers "Step in Time", "Footloose", "Seize the Day", "No One Mourns The Wicked", "Gaston", the list goes on and on. Can you imagine those insane numbers without the harmonies, the power of the voices, the chemistry of the ensemble, the awe-inspiring choreography? I often find that the most inspiring bits of musical theatre are the ones where the entire cast is putting every ounce of their everything into every single line, lyric and move. 

So next time, I beg you, please spare me the apologies and the disappointed looks because I am honored anytime I get to perform up on stage in any capacity, and I promise you, there is nothing embarrassing or disappointing in receiving an incredibly powerful "smaller role. 

A role is not measured in the number of lines or lyrics or minutes on stage, but rather by the amount of heart a performer puts into their role.