They sing. They dance. They raise money.
That's the reality of the 19 Broadway and Off-Broadway troupes performing in the 10th Annual "Gypsy of the Year" competition 4:30 PM Nov. 30 and 4 PM Dec. 1.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, which produces the concert competition as its major annual fundraiser for people with HIV and AIDS, released the cast roster for this year's show, hosted by Lea DeLaria (On the Town) and Martin Short (Little Me).
Performing spoofs or tributes at the Marquis Theatre will be the companies of Little Me, The Sound of Music, Nunsense A-Men!, Footloose, On the Town, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Chicago, Swan Lake, Cabaret, Miss Saigon, Rent, Ragtime, Titanic, Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk, Les Miserables and Cats.
The Broadway Gospel Choir will close the shows. Awards presented Dec. 1 will be:
*"Gypsy of the Year Award": Awarded to the performer(s) rated "Best of the Year" in the concerts by a panel of judges.
*"The BC/EFA Award": Awarded to the company raising the most money for BC/EFA in curtain-speech fundraisers.
*"The Off-Broadway Award": Awarded to the OB company raising the most money for BC/EFA in curtain-speech fundraisers.
For ticket information, call (212) 840-0770.
The popular "Gypsy of the Year" benefit/competition features casts of New York shows performing spoofs, specialty songs and tributes to raise money for people living with HIV and AIDS.
DeLaria is the brazen lesbian comic whose big voice and blowzy style won her raves when she played cab driver Hildy in On the Town at Central Park's Delacorte Theatre in the summer of 1997. She now has the last bow in the show (playing what was originally a supporting role) at the Gershwin. The production opened Nov. 22.
Canadian-born Short may be best known for his rubbery physical sketch comedy work on TV's "Saturday Night Live" and "SCTV." His previous Broadway role was in the musical, The Goodbye Girl. His concert role in the New York "Encores!" staging of Promises, Promises was embraced by critics.
Prices for the "Gypsy of the Year" benefit range in price from $20 $60 for general admission and $150-$300 for "VIP" and "Benefactor" seating.
The Dec. 1 show will include awards for best performance in the revue, plus awards for top fundraisers.
VIP and Benefactor tickets ($150-$300) for the event, the centerpiece fundraising event of the year for BC/EFA, will be available Nov. 16, a little later than the previously announced Nov. 2. Those buying $300 Benefactor tickets Dec. 1 receive orchestra seating and a post-show party at Sardi's, hosted by Playbill.
BC/EFA had hoped for -- and got -- a larger theatre than the 1,264-seat Virginia (last year's host space) because the event is so popular among industry folk and fans. The Marquis seats 1,584.
Michael Graziano of BC/EFA told Playbill On-Line (Oct. 28) that Broadway theatre owners and their resident productions are often happy to offer space, as long as logistics of the resident show and the guest event can mesh.
Graziano said the search for a larger space was an effort to "accommodate all the people that want to go." Last year's booking at the Virginia was packed with major donors, theatre people and the general public.
The 1998 "Gypsy of the Year" event ends a six-week period (which began Oct. 18) of aggressive fundraising by Broadway and Off-Broadway companies and tours throughout North America. Routinely, actors make an appeal for donations at intermission, at the curtain and/or in the lobby.
In last year's fundraising period, a record $1,335,313.18 was raised. The Broadway company of Rent raised the most money ($106,622).
Money goes to more than 230 organization supporting people living with HIV and AIDS. Several million dollars also goes to the Actors' Fund of America, Graziano said.
Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS was founded Oct. 1987 and has raised millions in the fight against HIV and AIDS and raised tens of millions "through the mobilization of the theatrical expertise of the entertainment industry."
-- By Kenneth Jones