The name "Theater Girls" is commonly believed to be because their first song was a cover of an Stage Song (Hikoukigumo) and their PV was recorded in the AKB48 Theater, as if it were a normal theater performance. Later on from Ponytail to Shushu, the Theater Girls got their first original song and as well as their first PV filmed outside the Theater.
Theater Girls on SKE48
Hikoukigumo (18 Members)
- Team A: Iwasa Misaki, Oya Shizuka, Matsubara Natsumi, Nakata Chisato
- Team K: Uchida Mayumi, Umeda Ayaka, Tanabe Miku, Matsui Sakiko, Nakatsuka Tomomi, Nakaya Sayaka, Nonaka Misato, Yonezawa Rumi
- Team B: Kobayashi Kana, Sato Natsuki, Suzuki Mariya, Chikano Rina, Hirajima Natsumi, Masuda Yuka
Boku no YELL (34 Members)
- Team A: Oya Shizuka, Nakagawa Haruka, Nakata Chisato, Nakaya Sayaka, Matsubara Natsumi
- Team K: Uchida Mayumi, Umeda Ayaka, Tanabe Miku, Nakatsuka Tomomi, Nonaka Misato, Matsui Sakiko, Yonezawa Rumi
- Team B: Ishida Haruka, Kobayashi Kana, Sato Natsuki, Suzuki Mariya, Chikano Rina, Hirajima Natsumi, Masuda Yuka
- Kenkyuusei: Ishiguro Atsuki, Ueki Asaka, Oba Mina, Kinumoto Momoko, Sano Yuriko, Shimazaki Haruka, Shimada Haruka, Takamatsu Eri, Takeuchi Miyu, Nagao Mariya, Nakamura Mariko, Fujimoto Sara, Mori Anna, Yamauchi Suzuran, Yokoyama Yui
Pinocchio Gun (17 Members)
- Team S: Deguchi Aki
- Team KII: Akaeda Ririna, Iguchi Shiori, Kato Tomoko, Sato Seira, Sato Mieko, Yamada Reika
- Kenkyuusei: Abiru Riho, Isohara Kyoka, Imade Mai, Ueno Kasumi, Kato Rumi, Goto Risako, Hata Sawako, Matsumura Kaori, Mano Haruka, Yakata Miki
Undergirls & Theater Girls as Popularity level used by the Fandom
The Undergirls are usually given most of the spotlight after the Senbatsu in a single release, making the other Single-exclusive group (the Theater Girls) feel as the "least important" group of girls for the manager.
The Theater Girls were introduced in RIVER, a single that was promoted as "first single ever where all the 48 girls of the group take part". with Senbatsu still being "the most important" selection of girls, the Undergirls were used once again and a new group named the Theater Girls was introduced. Unlike the Undergirls, the Theater Girls didn't get a new original song and got to cover an AKB48 Stage Song instead. The original Theater Girls music video was filmed in the AKB48 Theater as a "performance music clip", instead of an "original PV" like the Undergirls and Senbatsu get.
Since the Type-A and Type-B releases were included in AKB48 Singles, the Theater Girls started to take part of only one of the editions, compared to the Undergirls that appear in both as the main b-side of the single. Not only are Theater girls songs only one one edition, but the Theater Girls do not necessarily appear in all the singles in the first place. For Senbatsu election singles, Theater girls are not present.
In the fandom, fans will often classify girls as "Senbatsu" "Undergirl" or "Theater Girl", referring more to popularity-level instead of how often they appear in Senbatsu, Undergirls, or Theater Girls. Often, when AKB48 management decides to "push" a new member, they will have the girl go directly to the Undergirls lineup in order to promote her more to the fans.