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Actors' Equity Starts Campaign for Best Ensemble Tony Award Category

A petition is being circulated and the organization is asking for support.

Kate Shindle is the president of Actors' Equity Association.
(© Tricia Baron)

Actors' Equity Association has launched a new campaign calling for the American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards to create two new categories: Best Chorus in a Musical or Play and Best Ensemble in a Musical or Play.

Equity officially sent its request in a letter to the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League following a vote of Equity's National Council. The organization is suggesting for the new categories to be implemented during the 2018-19 season.

"Today, the Equity members who work in the chorus and ensemble are often expected to be able to do it all: act, sing, dance, even play one or more instruments," Kate Shindle, president of Actors' Equity, said in a statement. "It's not an exaggeration to say that the ensemble is frequently the hardest-working group on the stage. These new Tony categories would help ensure that every one of the performers who appear on stage can have their talent and efforts recognized."

Actors' Equity Association defines "Ensemble" as the entire company of a musical or play, including principal, featured, chorus, and swing roles. The organization defines "Chorus" as a group of singing and/or dancing cast members in a musical.

The campaign launched with a website, EveryoneOnStage.com, and a nationwide digital ad campaign that will run through the Tony Award season. It will ask theater enthusiasts to sign a petition to support recognition for chorus and ensemble performers.

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