As actors we often want the big part. We yearn for the moment in the spotlight with the audience captive to our every breath and movement. While it is true that those moments are thrilling and worth striving for, there is so much fun to be had in the ensemble!
The truth is, the ensemble is the heart and soul of the story. They provide the backdrop, the foreground, the context and the subtext of what is happening. Every amazing show you have ever seen is amazing because of the ensemble. They voice what needs to be said about the story and can provide insight into the deeper meaning of the show.
They are the glue. They are the thoughts. They are the truth.
And it is so much fun to be in the ensemble! There is more laughter and joy without the weight of the whole show hanging on you. In a lead role, there is much more responsibility and work to be done, mostly on your own. As a member of the ensemble you get to play with other performers. You get to sing fun and interesting parts. You get to dance and if you do it right, you get to have the same glory as the leads.
Most of my favorite shows are shows where I have been in the ensemble. I have always enjoyed ensemble work and have even asked to be cast in the ensemble because I enjoy it so much. My most recent show was Les Miserables and for that show I was in the ensemble. I got to develop 7 distinctly different characters. Each has their own back story and was fully developed. It was a blast!
The next time you face an audition and casting, hope for an ensemble role, or 7! You will be so glad you did.