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Opening Chorus

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"The overture is about to start,
You cross your fingers and hold your heart,
It's curtain time and away we go!
Another op'nin',
Just another op'nin' of another show."
Chorus, Kiss Me, Kate, "Another Op'nin, Another Show"

Many a musical doesn't make the audience wait to hear the ensemble sing. So, it'll start the very first scene (possibly after a short prologue) with a Crowd Song. Often includes solo verses to help introduce the characters.

See also the Opening Ballet.


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    Films — Animation 
  • In a rare example of Disney subverting stuff, many of Disney's opening numbers are not Crowd Songs. "Circle of Life" (with a large ensemble standing around being interesting looking), "The Bells of Notre Dame", and "Arabian Nights" are all sung by one person. However, "Belle", "Fathoms Below", and both "The Virginia Company" and "Steady as the Beating Drum" do fall under this.
    • Most of the older Disney movies started with a choral song being sung over the opening credits.
  • "Frozen Heart", sung by a group of ice harvesters.
    • Technically, "Vuelie" was also this, as it was sung straight from the beginning - right when the Disney castle animation appears.
  • "After Today" from A Goofy Movie
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas has "This is Halloween."
  • The Prince of Egypt: "Deliver Us" is performed mostly from the perspective of the Hebrew slaves as a group, but there are a few solo moments provided by Yocheved and Miriam.
  • "I Wanna Be A Boy" from the film version of Teacher's Pet
  • Steven Universe: The Movie opens with "The Tale of Steven", in which the Diamonds sing Steven's praises as the hero who brought peace to Homeworld. It's a deliberate homage to Disney's use of this trope.
    Steven, everyone believes in
    (Everyone believes in Steven)
    All across the universe
    Ever compassionate
    Can you imagine it?
    Even with us at our worst

    Films — Live-Action 
  • "We Saw The Sea" from the movie Follow the Fleet.
  • The film version of RENT opens with "Seasons of Love'; the stage opening is just one guy singing. In a sense, this also applies to certain versions of the play where everyone sings it before the second act.
  • Newsies begins with "Carrying the Banner", as does the stage adaptation.

  • Non-theatre example: Almost all of Johann Sebastian Bach's cantatas start with an opening chorus, though a few aversions do exist. Usually cantatas that do not start with a chorus instead start with a Sinfonia movement (a completely instrumental movement).

  • Almost all of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas have an Opening Chorus:
  • "Wintergreen For President" from Of Thee I Sing.
  • "Cotton Blossom" from Show Boat, notable for having its opening lines Bowdlerised.
    • Original lines: "Colored folks work on de Mississippi / Colored folks work while de white folks play". (The original original lines didn't use the words "colored folks.")
    • Bowdlerised lines: "Here we all work on the Mississippi / Here we all work while the rich folks play".
  • "Opening Night" from The Producers is a more recent example.
  • "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" from Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
    • The movie adaptation omits this.
  • Spoofed in Spamalot, in which the chorus mishears the Historian's introduction and thus the show opens with a musical number about Finland (instead of England) until they're corrected.
  • "Bells Are Ringing" from Bells Are Ringing.
  • "Call On Dolly" from Hello, Dolly!!.
  • "Westphalia" in some versions of Candide.
  • Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto opens with a scene from when Cesare was an infant, with the chorus singing about the illegitimate child, the proof of sin. Cesare's father sings about their family and the position he aims for, and the chorus echoes him. The straightforward, traditional kingly sound to the music contrasts with the cardinal acknowledging his illegitimate children and saying the church is just another kingdom. Then, time skips to 1491, the teenaged Cesare enters, and introduces himself with a rock-styled solo that contrasts in every way.
  • The Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along originally started (and ended) with "The Hills Of Tomorrow." This Opening Chorus and the following scene were removed in revisions, making the title song the Opening Chorus.
  • "I Hope I Get It" from A Chorus Line, though preceded by a somewhat extended dance sequence.
  • "No One Mourns the Wicked" both opens and closes the musical Wicked.
  • Half-subverted in Avenue Q, where the opening song is a recording by (presumably) the original cast, played alongside an opening video. It parodies Sesame Street, what else can we say.
  • "Overture/Work Song" from Les MisÚrables, although it's only for the male chorus.
  • "Tradition" from Fiddler On The Roof, preceded by a minute of narration.
  • "Merano" from Chess, at least on the concept album and in most British productions.
  • "Fletcher's American Chocolate Choral Society" from Strike Up The Band.
  • "The Old Red Hills of Home" from Parade
  • "The Heat is on in Saigon" from Miss Saigon.
  • The titular song of Ragtime.
  • The wordless hum of the chorus in the "Overture" to Blood Brothers.
  • "Madame Guillotine" in The Scarlet Pimpernel.
  • "All That Jazz" from Chicago.
  • "Another Op'nin, Another Show" from Kiss Me, Kate.
    • Although there's a fairly lengthy scene preceding it.
  • "Joseph Taylor, Junior" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's Allegro.
  • "Tower of Babble" from Godspell.
  • "Mrs. Sally Adams" from Call Me Madam, in which Irving Berlin quotes from his own song "God Bless America." (Preceded by a short prologue scene.)
  • Subversion: "An Opening For A Princess" doesn't open Once Upon a Mattress, despite its title and full ensemble participation; it's even the second song in the show, since the prologue already has "Many Moons Ago."
  • A semi-aversion in Thoroughly Modern Millie: The show starts of with Millie singing "Not for the Life of Me", a full song and a separate track on the CD, as a solo, but it segues directly into the choral title number. Interestingly, even though the tracks are listed separately on the original cast recording, if you listen to only the song "Thoroughly Modern Millie", you will still hear Millie sing the last note of "Not for the Life of Me".
  • Little Shop of Horrors uses this trope with the prologue variation.
  • "Aquarius" in Hair
  • "Ohmigod You Guys" in Legally Blonde: The Musical
  • "21 Jumbo Street" from Doug Live!
  • "High On A Hill" from The Desert Song. Hammerstein himself apologized for not writing good lyrics.
  • In Knickerbocker Holiday, "Clickety-Clack" is a typical opening chorus sung by Dutch Maidens washing the steps, though it's actually the second song in the show, the first being part of the long Opening Monologue.
  • Hamilton starts with "Alexander Hamilton," a song describing the first 19 or so years of Hamilton's life from his birth to his travel to America, told verse by verse by each of the other actors save the ones playing Angelica and Peggy/Maria. It ends with each actor briefly - and dramatically - stating their relation to Hamilton (deliberately written so that their statement applies equally to both characters for the actors who play more than one).
  • "Today is the Day" from Finale.
  • "Carrying the Banner" from Newsies.
  • In "Prologue/The Day I Got Expelled" from The Lightning Thief, the musical adaptation of the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the demigods bemoan their godly parent.
  • In the 2017 Broadway retool of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory "The Candy Man" (a lift from the 1971 film adaptation of the source novel, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory) is the opening number. Mr. Wonka himself sings the first verses as a solo, but after the bridge the ensemble joins in just because.
  • Westeros: An American Musical: "King Robert Baratheon" has several characters take turns at telling the audience the story of how Robert became King.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


What Is Love? (Rio 2 Song)

The sequel to the movie Rio 2 also opens this way though the song What Is Love? (Not to be confused with the more famous song of the same name by Haddaway)

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

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Main / OpeningChorus

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