Girls’ musical ensemble provides backbone to the spring musical.


Performers are always aiming for the top, the prime roll, the title character, or the star of the show. But very few shows are written with multiple star roles. More often, most characters in a show are in the back: the ensemble. However, there is no such thing as a small part; every character in a production is vital to the entire show.

The word ensemble has changed to a meaning that takes individual parts and puts them toward one whole. Example:

  • Group of items viewed as a whole rather than individually.
  • All the parts of a thing taken together, so that each part is considered only in relation to the whole
  • The general or total effect of something made up of individual parts
  • All together, all at once

One member on the cast for the musical is sophomore Sutton Steensma. She plays a character named Chiffon, who is one of three women who narrate the show. Along with her role in the show, she is also on the Production Team this year as one of the Dance Captains. As a Dance Captain she learns, teaches, and helps to guide the cast through the process of learning their choreography.

“Being able to have time on stage along with being a part of the behind-the-scenes action is such a wonderful learning experience,” said Sutton. “It really makes you comprehend how hard the crew heads work to make our productions possible.”

Many actions are being taken to prepare for the opening of the show. The cast rehearses every single day, whether it be for singing, dancing, lines, or all the above. The Production Team also is hard at work dealing with sets, costumes, and hair and makeup. Aside from the onstage practice, the whole cast must maintain a healthy mind and body; this includes eating well, drinking plenty of water, and taking time to relax every-so-often to keep themselves from becoming too stressed.

“We are all preparing a lot, especially the leads. People have given up so much to be a part of it and know that through hard work. It can be amazing,” said junior and ensemble member Brooke Buchanan. “We have singing, dancing, blocking, and acting almost everyday in order to perfect it. We are all so excited and can’t wait for the audience to see how amazing of a show this is.”

From being together so often, the cast forms a unique bond. They all help each other with their choreography and singing, and they constantly have the opportunity to hang out backstage.

“It is a really cool experience even just being in the ensemble because we get to be a part of something that makes other people excited to see,” said Brooke. “My favorite part of it is all of the people and the journey to get to the show. The whole cast bonds so much and we all come together and get to know people we might not have otherwise.”

All the girls in the ensemble are really excited and happy to be working together. They all love being a part of such an upbeat community where they can all lean on and help each other.

“The girls always have a positive attitude,” said junior and assistant stage manager Kaley Kaminski.

Having a strong ensemble is said to be a critical part of creating a great show. The ensemble for the musical is the glue to every show and the backbone for each number. They are the reason people get chills up their arms when hearing an incredible song. Besides group numbers, ensemble members can play many different roles and are put into scenes where they can play smaller, yet still very critical characters that can contain lines or even just staging alone.

“I’m most excited for this kind of show to be a part of my theater career because it’s totally different than any other production I have ever done. It combines so many different aspects of life from living the American Dream to living in the slums all in one act,” said Sutton. “There is the dynamic of love, war, success, and the not so pretty things that come with living in poverty and trying to make it in the world. The story really gives the audience a raw image of depression in a small city and the people enraptured in it.”