Dec. 4 is the final day of Broadway's 2001 fall fundraising for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Twin Towers Fund. Today, the winner for both the best skit and the show that raised the most money in the past six weeks will be announced at the Palace Theatre to cap the second afternoon of the 13th annual Gypsy of the Year competition.
Gary Beach and Roger Bart host the event, slipping in out of their stage personas, Roger Debris and Carmen Ghia. Beach even slips into his "Springtime for Hitler" duds to sit on the lip of the stage at the Palace, a la Judy Garland.
Among the skit highlights were:
— Urinetown's acidic and presentational look at what elements are necessary for creating a winning Gypsy of the Year skit (as Little Sally observes, "I don't think we're gonna win")
— Mamma Mia!'s battle against their theatre's former tenants, Cats
— a By Jeeves Bossa Nova lamenting their long journey to Broadway
— Kiss Me, Kate's quiet "We Will Stand," accompanied by photographs and the names of the firefighters lost at Broadway's company at 48th and 8th
Dragapella's take on aging to the tunes of "Age of Aquarius" and "Let the Sunshine In"
— a Les Miserables reimagining as a Mel Brooksian Oy! Miz, thanks to Cameron Mackintosh's relationship with The Producers' Hold Me, Touch Me
— Rent's "Louder Than Words," which asked listners to choose cages or wings
— Beauty and the Beast singing "Someday" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame musical
— Cabaret's swipe at the non-Equity Music Man tour ("76 dollars we get paid each week")
— The Producers' plead that they want to be their producers and take home those $480 ticket receipts
— Chicago's A Chorus Line take featuring Ann Reinking as Cassie and George Hamilton
— 42nd Street's offer to let every cast member of every closed show dance in theirs ("40,000 feet")
— Thou Shalt Not's angry anti-LORT contracts on Broadway parody "On Broadway," a la Smokey Joe's Cafe
— Naked Boys Singing!'s King and I take in which the King exposes his you-know-what in order to gain a job Off-Broadway to the tune of "Shall We Dance?"
The event also featured dance numbers by Aida and The Lion King and a special number by Broadway's dance captains, wherein the hard-working guys and gals who keep Broadway shows clean night after night are forced to put a recent high school graduate on his first show through the paces of Thou Shalt Not, The Full Monty and The Music Man.
The opening number sent out a bevy of Anitas dancing and singing "New York City" to the tune of "America." Among the things worth celebrating or berating in the city they love now more than ever were the 3 by 3 apartments, the unique running schedule of the 1 and 9 and 2 and 3, the seatbelt announcements in cabs ("I'm Mary Wilson of the Supremes and I want you to 'Stop! in the name of' safety) and taxi smells. Benefit tickets to the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS event are $350 $300 with general admission tickets ranging from $20-$90. To order by phone after Nov. 27, call (212) 840-0770. For further information, call (212) 840-0770, ext. 268 or visit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS on the web at http://www.bcefa.org.
2000 was Miss Saigon's last year at Gypsy of the Year (the long running musical closed at the Broadway Theatre Jan. 28, 2001), but in almost ten years of fund-raising, the company raised $2,026,253. Their skit, sung to selections from “Carmina Burana” by over fifty performers spanning the original Broadway cast to the current company, celebrated not only their cast members but the past skits and past earnings of nine Gypsies of the Year.
For their display, which included projections of former cast members lost to AIDS, Miss Saigon was awarded Best Skit at Gypsy of the Year by the panel of judges, including Chita Rivera and Graciela Daniele. Naked Boys Singing’s sing-a-long to The Sound of Music and Fosse's dedication to Gwen Verdon tied for first runner-up.
For the first time, plays were honored separately from musicals, much as Off-Broadway is honored apart from Broadway. The Best Man took the play award for raising $65,577 and Naked Boys Singing! again won the Off-Broadway award with $25,229.
In total, after six weeks of fundraising, Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring companies raised $2,056,666 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The figure is only slightly lower than last year’s sum of $2,074,870.
The Gypsy of the Year competition, held Dec. 4-5 at the Palace Theater, kicked off with a glance back to 1975 when a new musical moved from Joseph Papp's Public Theatre and revitalized Broadway. Many of the original cast members of A Chorus Line - including Wayne Cilento, Donna Drake, Robert LuPone and Priscilla Lopez - reassembled for a memorial salute to the 25th anniversary of the ground-breaking show. The audience erupted into a standing ovation that lasted several minutes at the mention of the performers and again after each person had been introduced.
— By Christine Ehren