Actors' Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, celebrates its seventh annual Swing Day today, Wednesday, January 19, 2022, honoring the hard-working performers who go onstage, sometimes at a moment's notice, for multiple roles.
A swing is a member of the ensemble who learns multiple parts, or tracks, and is on standby to cover for multiple members of the chorus. Depending on the needs of a production, a swing could go on for any number of tracks, including those written for other genders, ages or even more than one track at once. A swing may only learn they are going on moments before a performance begins, or even in the middle of a show. During the pandemic, the availability of understudies, and swings in particular, has at times determined whether or not a show will go on as planned.