BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS’
GYPSY OF THE YEAR COMPETITION
The 22nd Annual GYPSY OF THE YEAR Competition raised $3,776,720 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, thanks to the tireless work of 63 participating Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring companies, it was announced Tuesday. Since 1989, the 22 editions of GYPSY OF THE YEAR have raised a total of $44,137,415 to benefit BC/EFA.
This year’s GYPSY OF THE YEAR also marked the return to the New York stage of three-time Tony Award-winner Carol Channing, who was featured in the show’s opening number, a tribute to the legendary star’s many appearances on Broadway over the last 70 years. After being serenaded by a chorus of male dancers, many from the 1995 revival of Hello, Dolly!, Channing sang two of her most-beloved songs, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” and “Hello, Dolly.”
GYPSY OF THE YEAR is the culmination of six weeks of intensive fundraising where the theater community’s most talented “gypsies,” chorus members from Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring shows, join in a competition/variety show.
Among the celebrities appearing in this year’s show were Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes (Promises, Promises), Hunter Ryan Herdlicka and Bernadette Peters (A Little Night Music), Cherry Jones (Mrs. Warren’s Profession), T.R. Knight (A Life in the Theatre), Judith Light (Lombardi), David Hyde Pierce (La Bête), Billy Porter (Angels in America), Colin Quinn (Colin Quinn Long Story Short) and Elizabeth Stanley (Million Dollar Quartet).
The show also featured a slew of surprise appearances that sent the sold-out audience cheering:
- In the Heights co-creator Lin-Manuel Miranda made a one-day trip to New York to join an emotional reunion of past and present In the Heights cast members, including Kyle Beltran and Javier Munoz, a current and recent Usnavi, the character originated by Miranda.
- Best Actor Tony-winner Douglas Hodge strutted as Miss Hannigan in an uproarious spoof of Annie by the cast of La Cage aux Folles.
- Promises, Promises co-star Molly Shannon triggered squeals and screams when she burst on stage during her show’s skit, high-kicking her way into an audition as her infamous “Saturday Night Live” character Sally O’Malley. Dressed in Sally’s signature tight red pants and out-of-control hair, the 50-year-old “Sally” tried to earn a spot as a back-up dancer.
- Lee Roy Reams, who appeared with Channing in the 1978 Hello, Dolly! revival, joined Channing’s longtime friend Tyne Daly as they invited Channing back on stage after the opening number and led the audience in a heartfelt rendition of “Happy Birthday” for Channing, who turns 90 next month.
Among the shows other highlights:
- A stirring dance number celebrating the 60 years of the “Gypsy Robe,” choreographed by Shea Sullivan and Pamela Remler.
- An emotional performance by the cast of The Lion King, which dedicated its dance to Shannon Skye Tavarez, an 11-year-old cast member who died earlier this year of leukemia.
- Comedic twists by Chicago‘s Michael Cusamano as the Russian ballerina “Olga” and by the Mamma Mia! company’s spoof of “Hoarders,” featuring cats in the basement of the Winter Garden Theatre.
- For the first time, two national tours were represented in the show: the Jersey Boys touring foursome presented their “Tough Guys Movie Medley” and the Mary Poppins tour cast performed “Here We Go.”
This year’s Best Presentation award winner was from Rock of Ages, an acrobatic dance the likes of which have never been seen at Gypsy or on a Broadway stage. The dance was performed by cast member Julie Nelson and her partner, Rudi Macaggi, who also choreographed.
First runner-up in the performance category was The Addams Family’s Adam Riegler, who delivered a hilarious “It Gets Better”-themed monologue on the challenges and dubious joys of being in The Addams Family. The monologue was written and created by Nathan Lane, Alena Watters and Kevin Phillips; and directed by Lane.
This year’s judges included Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley (Next to Normal); Alison Fraser (The Divine Sister); Boyd Gaines (Driving Miss Daisy); Bebe Neuwirth (The Addams Family); Eve Plumb (Miss Abigail’s Guide…); Patricia White (President, Local 764 – Theatrical Wardrobe Union); and Nick Wyman (President of Actors’ Equity).
The 2010 edition of GYPSY OF THE YEAR also featured wonderful, hilarious and moving presentations by cast members from Mary Poppins, My Big Gay Italian Wedding, Wicked, Fela!, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Billy Elliot and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.
This year’s competition ended with the following shows landing as the top fundraisers:
Top Fundraiser Promises, Promises $195,011
1st Runner Up Wicked $181,609
2nd Runner Up Billy Elliot $152,268
3rd Runner Up The Addams Family $150,000
Top Fundraiser Driving Miss Daisy $94,044
Runner Up A Life in the Theatre $72,452
Off-Broadway (Play or Musical):
Top Fundraiser The Divine Sister $24,444
Top Fundraiser Jersey Boys $285,398
1st Runner Up Wicked (Emerald City) $247,571
2nd Runner Up Wicked (Munchkinland) $236,352
3rd Runner Up Shrek The Musical $137,888
This year’s GYPSY OF THE YEAR was hosted by noted Broadway personality Seth Rudetsky (“Seth’s Big Fat Broadway” on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio).
The opening number was staged by choreographers Melissa Rae Mahon and Sean McKnight with musical direction by Ben Cohn, special lyrics by Rob Krausz and costumes by Brian Hemesath. The 22nd Annual GYPSY OF THE YEAR was directed by Kristin Newhouse.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised over $195 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.
BC/EFA awards annual grants to more than 400 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of seven programs at The Actors Fund, including The HIV/AIDS Initiative, The Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, The Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic and more.
The GYPSY OF THE YEAR Competition is sponsored by
Continental Airlines, the official airline of BC/EFA, and The New York Times