Hosted by Drowsy Chaperone's Bob Saget and Xanadu's Jackie Hoffman and Mary Testa, the annual fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS will open with a medley of West Side Story tunes and will boast appearances by original West Side Story cast members Chita Rivera (Anita), Mickey Callan (Riff), Carol Lawrence (Maria), Ken LeRoy (Bernardo), Jamie Sanchez (Chino) and Reri Grist (Consuelo).
Other cast members from the show's 1957 production will also be part of the opening: Genii Charnin, Harvey Evans, Marilyn D'Honau, Alan Johnson, Gene Gavin, Ronnie Lee, George Marcy, Liane Plane, Martin Charnin, Grover Dale, Bill Guske, Ed Kressley, Sandy Leeds, Tony Mordente, Carole D'Andrea, Frances Davis, Lowell Harris, Julie Oser-McLeod, Noel Schwartz and Gina Tricones. These gypsies will be joined by gypsies from currently running shows.
In a statement BC/EFA executive director Tom Viola said, "We are thrilled that Broadway is back and we look forward to everyone coming together to celebrate Broadway at this year's Gypsy of the Year Competition at the New Amsterdam Theatre.
"During the work stoppage, we received an outpouring of support from our friends across the country to see what they could do. Broadway shows that weren't affected by the work stoppage redoubled their efforts to raise funds. In addition, shows Off-Broadway, on tour, and among the country's regional theatres reached out and joined in to do all that they could to help. "Now that Broadway is back in full force, our friends across the theatre district have eagerly jumped back into fundraising efforts. On behalf of the staff and Board – but most importantly the thousands of individuals and hundreds of AIDS and family service organizations we support, especially The Actors Fund, we offer our most sincere and heartfelt 'thank you.'"
The annual competition usually follows six weeks of intensive fundraising by various shows on and off Broadway as well as touring productions throughout the country. Because of the recent stagehands strike and the loss of fundraising revenue at the theatres, Broadway Cares introduced Team Raiser, a chance for interested parties to donate to the competition on-line. Contributions can be made to one's favorite show, and people can also register to fundraise themselves. For more information click here.
Awards are presented at Gypsy in two categories: for best skit and for most money raised for BC/EFA. Last season, the competition raised $2,992,800. Best skit honors went to The Color Purple with The Lion King and The Beauty and the Beast tying for runner-up. Purple also raised the most money for BC/EFA, bringing in $194,500. Other front-runners: Wicked ($192,900), The Drowsy Chaperone ($185,900), The Phantom of the Opera ($153,800) and Jersey Boys ($133,250). The top touring company was the Wicked Chicago company with $175,000. The Little Dog Laughed was the top play with $44,330, and The Clean House won the Off-Broadway award with $26,700.
Tickets, priced $20-$350, can be purchased by calling (212) 840-0770, by visiting the Broadway Cares website, or in person at the New Amsterdam Theatre (214 West 42nd Street) the day of the event.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) is the nation's leading industry based, not-for-profit AIDS fundraising and grant making organization. For further information visit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS on the web at http://www.bcefa.org.