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All-Knowing Singing Narrator

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And a one, and a two, and a one-two-three-four!

There goes Bob and Alice, their mortgage is way past due. There goes Bob and Alice, and soon their day shall be misconstrued. There goes Bob and Alice, General Dusk is watchin' you! There goes Bob and Alice — why hello! I was just doin' a number, a musical number, yessiree!

Y' see, I may be a narrator but I am also a talented vocalist, a singer if you will. Now, if you biddly-boppers pay heed to the Trope Title, then you oughta know that I’m aware of everything that's going to happen in the plot. And what better for me (though not necessarily all the time) to step in for a musical; what good is a musical if the guy tellin' the story ain't singin' along?

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Say, baby, if you gon' be lookin' for the singin' narrator ensemble, then go 'head and check out Greek Chorus. For a more general, how do ya put it, categorization of folks with an awareness of the work's fictionality, why don't you go on and take a look at Fourth-Wall Observer. Anyway, back to my mel-o-dee!

There goes Bob and Alice, I know everything they're gonna do. There goes Bob and Alice, I play didgeridoo. There goes Bob and Alice, they'll never make it up to you! OW!!!


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Examples:

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    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 
  • Clopin in the beginning of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, considering he opens it with the story of how Frollo killed Quasimodo's mother and "adopted" Quasi — despite the fact that Clopin wasn't even there at the time, and the two men (or possibly more, if you count the staring masonry) who were certainly wouldn't have told anyone about what happened. However, for the rest of the film he's just a standard character who knows no more than anyone else. In the Berlin musical production based on this film, Clopin stays the narrator throughout.
  • Alan-a-Dale, the rooster minstrel in Disney's Robin Hood (1973), plays with this trope because he becomes a character in the story who appears in several scenes.
  • The Muses of Hercules, starting their takeover for the original narrator, who they say is too boring.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Grave Robber from Repo! The Genetic Opera. Of course, he's reading a newspaper about the events of the Opera, so even though he wasn't there, he still knows about certain events. Unfortunately, however, they don't do the same when explaining how he knows all about Blind Mag's contract problems. He actually hands off the newspaper to Shilo while Mag's rival is standing right there at the time.
  • The Criminologist in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Of course, he doesn't actually sing (but he does do spoken word accompaniment during the Time Warp song.)
  • In a non-musical version, the Radio DJ from The Warriors mostly fits into this category.
  • Stubby Kaye and Nat King Cole in Cat Ballou.
  • In Rancho Notorious, the ballad "The Legend of Chuck-a-Luck" is heard during the opening credits and throughout the film, using the lyrics as narration. According to the American Film Institute, this is the first American film to use a song in this manner.
  • The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men: Alan-a-Dale wanders through the early parts of the film singing about events that have just taken place. Even after he joins the Merrie Men, he plays no real part in the action.
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    Literature 
  • A book of Classical Mythology featured a script-version of the story of Achilles. "Chorus" is described as the "Narrator who knows everything".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: "The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon" in "The Gunfighters".
  • Used (and Lampshaded) in "The Day They Shot Agarn" episode of F Troop.
  • Galavant: Jester knows all the plot threads during his summation songs, even if they contain events he was not present for nor could have been informed of.

    Music 

    Theater 
  • The revolutionary narrator from Evita, who is sometimes called "Che".
  • The Narrator in Into the Woods. Things get considerably worse when he dies.
  • The Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
  • Officer Lockstock and Little Sally in Urinetown
  • The urchins/Ronettes in the musical version of Little Shop of Horrors.
  • The Balladeer from Assassins, who goes over the three successful attempts we see on stage and, in "Another National Anthem", tries to get the Assassins to be more polite. He fails, and they turn him into Lee Harvey Oswald. One can also count the Proprietor as this as well, as he gives inspiration for the Assassins to start trying to kill their targets, and even interacts with them in some versions of the play.
  • The Leading Player from the musical Pippin.
  • A non-singing example: the Stage Manager from Our Town.
  • Pseudolus, the main character of Stephen Sondheim's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
  • The Reciter in Pacific Overtures sings of Japan's feudal ways and the country's modernization and encounters with the West.
  • The Cat in the Hat from Seussical the Musical.
  • The Lecturer in the musical adaptation of Reefer Madness.
  • The Narrator in Blood Brothers.
  • Lonny from the jukebox musical Rock of Ages.
  • Bert in the musical adaptation of Mary Poppins.
  • The Narrator in The Dolls of New Albion: A Steampunk Opera.
  • Aaron Burr in Hamilton. Played with in that there are several noticeable blind spots from where Historians has no knowledge. Most tellingly, he starts narrating the facts about the Hamilton-Reynolds affair only to just shrug and let Hamilton take over narration a few lines in. We then cut to a description from (the historical) Hamilton's own highly biased writings.
  • The Narrator from the musical Murder Ballad.
  • Basically everyone in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812.
  • Fester in the musical The Addams Family.
  • Bridget in Lizzie.
  • Luigi Lucheni in Elisabeth. He's also an Interactive Narrator, particularly in the Takarazuka version where, at minimum, he takes pictures of the audience so Sisi can collect images of the great beauties. Sometimes accompanied by a Shout-Out if there happens to be any (current or former) Takarasienne in attendance.
  • Hermes in Hadestown. Originally his role was just to narrate the show and give Orpheus the directions to the back way into Hadestown, but as the show evolved he's become more and more of a character (such as being responsible for introducing Orpheus and Eurydice in the first place). "Road to Hell (Reprise)" implies that, as a god, Hermes always knew the end of the story was inevitable but was compelled to play his role in it anyway.
  • Ladahlord in the musical adaptation of James and the Giant Peach.
  • Pierre Gringoire in Notre-Dame de Paris.

    Web Video 
  • Headless A Sleepy Hollow Story: Downplayed with Diedrich Knickerbocker. While he does sing his narration of Ichabod's story to the audience and appears to be only seen and heard by Ichabod, he is not entirely all-knowing — there are a few instances where he sings that something is about to happen, but doesn't actually know what it is. He's more Narrating the Present in this sense.
    Diedrich: (singing) But before he could start to sob and cry
    A welcome visitor would soon stop by...
    Ichabod: (happily) Really? Who?
    Diedrich: What? Oh, I don't know.
    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in the Arthur episode "The Ballad of Buster Baxter": "Mom, there's a singing moose in front of the house!"
  • Pinky and the Brain: Pinky does this briefly in "Brainy Jack", until Brain tells him to stop in a Left the Background Music On moment.
  • Birdie in Central Park is a busker who also serves as the show's narrator. He explains to the audience there are certain rules to being a "narrator": the main one being that despite being an actual character in the show, he isn't allowed to be a narrator of the interactive variety and directly interfere with the plot. He actually gets briefly replaced in the episode "Rival Busker" after he breaks this rule by impatiently blurting out plot details to Paige.

 
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Video Example(s):

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Birdie the Narrator

Birdie introduces himself as the narrator of the show and introduces the main characters by peeping through their windows, which isn't creepy at all.

How well does it match the trope?

4.89 (9 votes)

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Main / AllKnowingSingingNarrator

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