Follow TV Tropes

Following

Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number

Go To

"If only someone could see
In eleven part harmony
Or maybe just unison...
"

A common trope in musical theater, a song (often one that ends the first act) that sums up the attitudes of all of the main characters toward some upcoming event or towards something that happened earlier by having them singing all at once, with counterpoint for all.

Advertisement:

Usually either a Reprise Medley or a Crowd Song, and often a Showstopper. In musical theater, this is especially common in Act 1 Finales. This can also be referred to as an "all-skate."

Frequently overlaps with The Song Before the Storm, which refers to any large-scale songs about an upcoming confrontation.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Films — Animation 
  • "Savages" from Pocahontas has the Native Americans and the Europeans separately disparage the other group, with Pocahontas simultaneously in a Race Against the Clock to try and stop the groups from becoming violent with each other.
  • "Some Things Never Change" from Frozen II has Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf reflect on the events of the first film and how they've been moving forward since.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Discussed Trope in Amadeus, when Mozart describes how he imagines simultaneous conversations playing out in his upcoming opera (The Marriage of Figaro).
  • "Days in the Sun" from Beauty and the Beast (2017).
  • Billy Madison has one where he decides to study for the academic decathlon.
  • Disaster Movie has "Date Song", a blatant rip-off of "I'm F—-ing Matt Damon" from Jimmy Kimmel Live! (the Unrated Edition uses "fuck" instead), which brings together many of the movie's characters, even ones that have been killed during the movie, to sing a curtain call song... then it's Drop the Cow time!
  • High School Musical:
    • "Stick to the Status Quo". Three major East High cliques, the jocks/cheerleaders, the geeks/nerds, and the stoners all discuss their Hidden Depths. Taylor tries to convince Gabriella not to go to the callback for the school play. Sharpay and Ryan vow to keep Gabriella from infiltrating the school musical (and Troy's heart).
    • "What Time Is It?" from High School Musical 2 has the main cast each excitedly explain their summer plans.
  • Not Another Teen Movie has one right before the Prom scene, where each main character talks about their current feelings, along with a random chef who announces he's just jerked off in someone's french toast.
  • "At the Opera Tonight" from Repo! The Genetic Opera: Shilo sets out for the opera house, Mag resigns herself to her fate, Nathan puts on his Repo Man gear, Amber Sweet buys one last round of Zydrate from Graverobber, Rotti Largo plans the outcome of his final masterstroke, Pavi Largo rejoices over his new face and the possibility of getting laid, and Luigi Largo is... angry, because he's Luigi Largo. This song has even been described as "'One Day More' with electric guitars".
  • Lampshaded in "La Resistance" from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (a pastiche of "One Day More" from Les Mis).
  • West Side Story - The reprise of Tonight, featuring Tony, Maria, Anita, the Sharks, and the Jets.
Advertisement:

    Live-Action TV 
  • "Walk Through the Fire" from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Musical Episode.
  • Frequent of the closing numbers to the Muppet Television segments of The Jim Henson Hour, featuring characters from the show's various sketches. Also happens for the closing number ("We'll Meet Again") in the special, The Muppets Go to the Movies.
  • "When The Truth Comes Out" from the Scrubs musical episode is a perfect example, including a brief reprise of each of the four major numbers from the first act within the span of about two minutes.
  • Parodied on Key & Peele with "One At A Time", their homage to Les Miserables. It starts as "The Confrontation" then "I Dreamed A Dream" shows up and finally "One Day More". Keegan Michael Keye's character Legateoux has no idea why they have to all sing their own songs at the same time.
  • Community did this twice.
    • Season 1 - "Somewhere Out There" from An American Tail.
    • Season 3 - "Kiss From a Rose" by Seal.

    Music 

    Theatre 

  • Aida has two of these. "Not Me", towards the end of Act I, between Aida, Mereb, Radames, and Amneris, where Radames goes through a realizaiton that he wants to help the Nubians, which confuses Amneris and Mereb and delights Aida.
    • The second is called "A Step Too Far", which acts as the introduction to Act II. It's done very simply, with everybody in simple black costumes in front of a field of stars. Aida describes her issues with having to fight for her people, Radames discusses his troubles with being engaged to Amneris but in love with Aida, and Amneris talks about her failing relationship with Radames. Each person wonders if they've taken a step too far out of their normal place, and will it end well for them.
  • "Quartet at the Ballet" from the stage musical Anastasia has Anya, Dmitry, Gleb, and the Dowager Empress Marie muse on the possibility that Anya really is Anastasia.
    • "We'll Go From There" has Anya, Dmitry, and Vlad talk about their aspirations that can only happen once they get to Paris.
  • Bare: A Pop Opera has "One" as the Act One finale.
  • Bat Boy: The Musical has Comfort and Joy, which ends Act One.
  • Be More Chill has many, but the most prominent one is "More Than Survive" at the start of the musical, which introduces and establishes every major character (sans the SQUIP).
  • The act one finale to The Book of Mormon, "Man Up". It starts out like an '80s rock parody a la "Montage" from Team America, but then once the rest of the cast comes in, it turns into a MMEN.
  • "A Night We'll Never Forget" from Carrie the Musical, which opens Act II and in which basically everybody except the crazy mom gets involved.
  • The later versions of "The Deal (No Deal)" in Chess. this also reprises pretty much every song up to this point, although not in counterpoint.
  • The song "I Hope I Get It" which serves as the opener to A Chorus Line. All of the auditionees sing, in unison, about how much they need a job, that their unemployment has run out, and that they all think they've blown the audition.
  • Curtains has many of these, but the one that best fits the trope is "He Did It" from the beginning of Act 2, when everyone reacts to Sid Bernstein's murder.
  • In Drood, the 1986 musical adaptation of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, there is a song called "No Good Can Come From Bad", in which the violent motivations of all the principal characters are revealed before Drood dies.
  • Elisabeth has the opening number "Prolog (Alle tanzten mit dem Tod)" ("Prologue (Everyone has Danced with Death)"), in which Lucheni, Death, and the ghosts of Elisabeth's contemporaries sing about her.
  • "A New Argentina" from Evita features Eva, Juan, Che, the descamisados and anti-Peronist military goons in the build-up to Juan's election as President of Argentina. Naturally, it's a massive showstopper. The song "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" was added to the musical just to give the actress playing Eva extra time to catch her breath in preparation for this song, generally considered the most demanding in the whole musical.
  • Finale has a few:
    • "Today is the Day", a song about how everyone is going to have a good day,
    • "Panic in the Streets", a song about everyone stressing out over the fact that the world is ending
    • "Finally", a song about everyone accepting their deaths and the end of the world.
  • "The Last One You'd Expect" from A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. Lord Asquith D'Ysquith Sr. muses on his growing reliance on Monty, Sibella muses on how fast Monty's social status has elevated, Phoebe muses on her burgeoning attraction to Monty, and Monty muses on how many more members of the D'Y Squith family he has to kill to gain the coveted Earl of Highhurst title.
  • Gilbert and Sullivan do this all the time.
  • In Hamilton, the opening number, "Alexander Hamilton" has just about every character narrate a chunk of Hamilton's backstory and briefly explain how they knew him.
    • Additionally, "Non-Stop", the Act I closer, follows each of the characters who appear in both acts in the years following the Revolutionary War, frequently reprising small parts of these characters' most notable Act I songs.
  • Heathers has the opening number, Beautiful, which introduces all the main characters aside from J.D.
  • The Tony-winning Broadway musical In the Heights has two examples of this: "96,000," the major production number in the show, comes when somebody on Usnavi's barrio buys a winning lottery ticket, and everyone has their own way they would spend those earnings. Another comes in the first act closer, "Blackout," when, suddenly, the power goes out in Washington Heights, and the barrio is separated in the insanity. Yet another example of the Awesome Music.
  • Into the Woods:
    • "Ever After", which actually serves as what seems like an ending to the whole show by showing the happy endings reached by the fairy-tale characters seen in the first act—until The Narrator says "To Be Continued!"
    • More appropriately the opening number "Into the Woods" and the act two opener "So Happy" fit this trope better.
  • Jekyll & Hyde has "Your Work And Nothing More", where all the main characters worry about Jekyll, except for Emma's father, who worries about her.
  • In the stage musical adaptation of Disney's The Little Mermaid, there's "If Only", which begins with Ariel wishing Eric would be able to know she's the same girl who rescued him from drowning, then segues into Eric expressing how he finds Ariel mysteriously familiar. Sebastian, hoping he can rectify the matter and finally Triton wondering where his daughter has disappeared to round out the number.
  • "A Weekend in the Country" from A Little Night Music.
  • "One Day More" from Les Misérables, has all of the main characters planning for the coming insurrection—Jean Valjean plans to take his adopted daughter Cosette away from France to keep them from being discovered, Cosette and her boyfriend Marius despair of ever seeing each other again, Marius takes Cosette's leaving as a final sign that he needs to join the students on the barricade, Eponine pines for Marius, Enjolras and the students look forward to taking on The Man, Javert announces his plan to spy on the students, and the Thenardiers look forward to rich pickings from the bodies of the dead, all in one four-minute musical number.
  • Mozart! has a reprise of "Wie wird man seinen Schatten los?" ("How Can You Escape Your Shadow?") as its closing number. It's sung by the entire cast, even the characters who have died.
  • Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812:
    • "Prologue", which introduce all the key players of the story and their identifying trait or motivation except for Pierre.
    • "Letters", the Act Two opener. Pierre is still depressed, ashamed of his duel with Dolokhov, and is undergoing a Sanity Slippage, which he details in a letter to Andrey. Natasha is conflicted about her duty to marry Andrey and her attraction to Anatole as she writes a letter to Princess Mary. Mary is writing to Natasha to apologize for her and her father's behavior during Natasha's earlier visit. Dolokhov writes Natasha love letters but pretends they are from Anatole, who is still lusting after Natasha. Natasha writes another letter refusing Andrey's proposal and admits to herself that she wants Anatole.
  • "Who Will Buy?" from Oliver!.
  • "Prima Donna" from The Phantom of the Opera is a non-act-ending example.
    • "Notes" from the same show is another example, which comes before "Prima Donna." In the first act, it is sung by the Opera Populaire's producers, choreographer (and her daughter), the two stars, and Raoul, arguing about how they should meet (or ignore) the demands of the mysterious Opera Ghost. A more dissonant version comes in the second act with Christine joining in the feud as they are presented with their biggest challenge yet: the incredibly difficult opera "Don Juan Triumphant" composed by this ghost.
  • "Christmas Bells" from RENT.
  • An interesting twist on this trope can be found in the musical adaptation of The Secret Garden - the "Quartet" at the beginning of Act II juxtaposes Archie and Neville's feelings about Archie's current loneliness after Lily's death with a flashback to Rose voicing to Lily her objections over her impending marriage to Archie.
    • Of course, the first act also ends with one, underscoring the end of a freak storm. The "Storm" music evolves into a Benjamin Britten-style canonic reprise of "It's a Maze," moving into a freaky overlapping vocal section, which then culminates in a very polytonal Charles Ives-ian reprise of "Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary." Once the storm ends and the garden is revealed, the orchestra plays the curtain down on a hopeful note.
  • "Bikini Bottom Day", the opening number of The Spongebob Musical. Spongebob wakes up and sings about how great the day will be before saying hi to Patrick, who sings about how he's off schedule with his laziness. Squidward hears the two goofing off and complains that he can't get a single moment's peace. On his way to work, Spongebob greets Sandy, who's working on inventing a jetpack and accidentally causes an explosion in the process. At the Krusty Krab, Mr. Krabs talks about all the money he wants to make while Plankton and his computer wife Karen try coming up with an Evil Plan against him. When Spongebob arrives at work, Mr. Krabs enters with his daughter Pearl due to it being "Take Your Kid To Work Day", telling her that he wants her to inherit the restaurant, though she has other plans.
  • Three songs from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Starlight Express did this: First, there was the opening of Act II, in which all the engines prepared for the big final race in the championship. In the West End production and the recent US tour, it was called "The Rap," and was rewritten three times, basically because the first one didn't really sound like rap. The second one, written in 1992, sounded a little more like rap, but the early period. In 2003, a new rap was written which more accurately represented the genre. For the 1987-1989 Broadway version exclusively, a new song was added as kind of a continuation to the "Freight" coda, which had electricity, steam, and diesel fighting against each other in contrapuntal song, which then led to the big races which would then end with one train winning the "Silver Dollar" (rather than the Champion of the World). The other song that falls in this category is "The Hymn To Victory" which has been in every production since. This is another continuation of the aforementioned "Freight" Coda, with everyone raising their voices in an even louder, earth-shaking chorale, with a massive High C from Rusty. Here, this song is sung before the final heat, specially prepared on a downhill course. Rusty joined in the singing, even though he was disqualified from the final, so you can hear the Control's voice ordering for the Marshals to stop Rusty from entering the tracks, but it is too late.
  • "It's Hot Up Here" and "Putting It Together" from Sunday in the Park with George.
  • From Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, "God That's Good!" and "Johanna (reprise)".
  • Team Starkid:
    • A Very Potter Musical
      • The Epic Rocking song of "Gotta Get Back to Hogwarts," which brilliantly sets up the Alternate Character Interpretation, humor, and some plots. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are returning to Hogwarts, Harry meets Ginny who instantly falls for him but he's interested in Cho, who is dating Cedric. Malfoy arrives and teases them and reveals his motive of finally beating Harry. The gang all gather and ride the Hoqwarts express to Hogwarts where they are greeted by Dumbledore. And all in all there's a general agreement that this year's going to be totally awesome. And this is all just the opening number.
      • Also, later in the show, Ron and Hermione lead the entire cast in The Song Before the Storm to say that Voldemort is Going Down.
    • Me and My Dick has "Ready to Go", the second song in the show. Sally and Miss Cooter want Joey, Sally asks Joey to be her science partner, Joey and Dick pine for Vanessa, Flopsy is sick of dicks, Tiffany Really Gets Around and so does The Old Snatch. Vanessa has dumped her cheating boyfriend and Tiffany plans for Vanessa to seduce Joey to get back at him.
  • "Getting Ready" from 13, as well as "A Little More Homework" later on.
  • "One Day More" from Les Misérables was the direct inspiration for the Act I finale of Urinetown. The opening number ("Urinetown"), the aforementioned first act finale, as well as "Why Did I Listen To That Man?" all fit.
  • "I Can't Imagine" at the end of the first scene in Vanities has the three characters singing about their upcoming college life, complete with a counterpoint trio section.
  • The definitive example is the "Tonight" ensemble from West Side Story ("Quintet"), which directly precedes the first act's violent final scene.
  • The Lachiusa version of The Wild Party has “Wild”, which shows the party in full swing and the complete chaos that’s starting to unfold. Even looking past the parts where the entire company sings in unison, there’s only four party members who don’t get a line of their own. And, keep in mind, this is out of fifteen guests.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

  • Parodied on Family Guy with "If More People Join In, The Song Will Get Better", showing how this kind of number gets used as a cheap ploy by bad musicals.
Advertisement:


 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Top

"One Day More"

In this Act I closing number, the various characters sing as they prepare for the upcoming rebellion.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / MassiveMultiplayerEnsembleNumber

Media sources:

Main / MassiveMultiplayerEnsembleNumber

Report