The show opened with a hilarious spoof on “So You Think You Can Dance” with a toothy Christopher Sieber as Nigel Lythgoe, the snooty British judge, Mary Birdsong as a “woo hoooing” Mary Murphy and Bernie Telsey as himself (who quipped “Ha! They’re still looking for tap dancing boys for White Christmas!”)
Our very own Seth Rudetsky and Julie White served as hosts. White was hysterical, continuously commenting on the phonetic spelling of names written out for her on her cue-cards (“Do they think that just because I’m from Texas I can’t pronounce ‘Prokofiev’? Is that something you put on a wound?”)
As for our Seth R. (disclaimer…some in-house flattery is about to go on), he was his usual amazing self! Of course there were a few of his patented “deconstructions” which included one of Gypsy performer Gavin Creel (“Sustain then vibrato, Gavin!”), who had a funny onstage run-in with Seth: “You do know that I just performed and I’m standing right back there and can hear you, right?" Seth also accompanied fellow Sirus host and NEWSical cast member, Christine Pedi, in her Angela Lansbury/Katharine Hepburn/Joan Rivers/Bernadette Peters inspired version of “I’m Telling You” from Dreamgirls. And yes, Bernadette was there.
As always, laughs were aplenty, especially when the “Merry Men” of Chicago took to the stage for their top-prize winning parody of West Side Story’s “A Boy Like That/I Have A Love”. Ryan Lowe played a frighteningly good Anita. (Seriously, put a wig on him, and he could understudy Josephina Scaglione right now!) His fellow “Men” urged him to ''Stick to your own age, someone your own age.'' When he fell in lust with a young Bye Bye Birdie-bound chorus boy. His response: ‘‘too young for you, not for me!'' Funny ‘cause it’s true.
The kids from Bye Bye Birdie did a very cute tribute to the late Queen front-man, Freddie Mercury, who died from AIDS related complications in 1991. The skit featured Riley Costello falling into a dream sequence (but not before saying “Goodnight my John Stamos/Uncle Jesse doll”), and what I could have sworn was John Stamos himself in drag dancing alongside fellow cast members for "Bohemian Rhapsody".
Another bunch of chuckles came courtesy of the cast of Superior Donuts who taught a Wolverine-d Hugh Jackman (played by Cliff Chamberlain) and a tuxedoed Daniel Craig how to ditch their charming Aussie/British accents to talk like real Chicago “coppas”. “Here, now put on a stupid mustache” urged Michael McKean as he dressed up Sean Patrick Reilly as Craig.
After Donuts wrapped, the real Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig (who raised an astonishing $1.5mil+ during Appeals) took to the stage to thunderous applause. The notoriously shy Craig seemed to shed some inhibitions along with the handlebar mustache he promptly shaved after Sunday’s final curtain call of A Steady Rain. The two were having a lot of fun (even breaking into an impromptu rendition of Happy Birthday for Jujamcyn Producting Director and BC/EFA pres, Paul Libin, who's turning 79 this month.)
And while the entire company kept us laughing throughout the 2+ hour presentation, the solemn moments were there too including a minute of silence to honor the great Broadway talent we lost as a result of AIDS. In a rare moment of seriousness, Seth fondly remembered his mentor, musical director, James Raitt, who died at 41.
Another important moment was brought to our attention via a nifty Playbill insert courtesy of Broadway Impact which listed the emails and phone numbers of New York Senators who voted "No" to last week’s marriage equality bill. And it just so happens you can find that info here! Wow, that is mighty convenient!
Backstage after the show, the love was palpable. Gypsy always promises a good show, but this one topped them all. BC/EFA walked away with over $4.6million, which will help continue all the wonderful social service work they do helping people stricken with this disease.
For info on all the great work BC/EFA (led by our pal Tom Viola) log on to BCEFA.org.
Bravo to all the Gypsies! See you at Easter Bonnett.