'Vic/Vic' Wins Gypsy of the Year Award

News   'Vic/Vic' Wins Gypsy of the Year Award
 
"Victor/Victoria" copped the two top awards in the seventh annual Gypsy of the Year Competition, which raised a record $1.2 million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
<i>Victor/Victoria</i>
Victor/Victoria

"Victor/Victoria" copped the two top awards in the seventh annual Gypsy of the Year Competition, which raised a record $1.2 million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

The cast of "Vic/Vic" won the "Absolut Theatre Award" for collecting $150,500 during the last three and a half weeks. That pushed the 1995 total for all New York casts to $1.2 million. Pascale Faye and Arte Phillips, an exquisitely buffed pair of dancers from the musical, performed a sinuous pas de deux that wowed the judges even more than the 15 rowdy comedy numbers and stirring anthems that were its competition.

The sultry Faye seemed to melt around Phillips like chocolate in the provocative number -- which was promptly spoofed by two dancers from "How To Succeed . . ." who galumped though their own rendition of the number, ending with the female dancer mooning the audience. Both numbers pretty well capture the spirit of the evening.

The event, which was performed for a second sold-out night this year, might as well have been titled "Night of 100 (Current and Future) Stars." Carol Burnett (who was persuaded to do her Tarzan yell) and Patrick Stewart presented the prizes. Also appearing were Carol Channing, Betty Buckley, Jon Secada, Charles Busch, Phyllis Newman, Anne Runolfsson, John Cunningham, cast members from most of the shows on Broadway -- plus an Ethel Merman impersonator belting "Got a Lot of Living To Do," and Pia Zadora in a Barney the Dinosaur costume.

Channing got the first of the evening''s half-dozen standing ovations when she took bows with a series of female impersonators from the cast of her "Hello, Dolly!" They showed her performing parts in other shows, such as "Phantom of the Opera" (with the mask over her wig), "Sunset Boulevard," even "Grease!" Other highlights:

* The cast of "Crazy for You" used humor to confront disappointment that it must close Jan. 7 to make way for the musical version of "Big." Star James Brennan was featured in an elaborate fantasy sequence in which the cast of "Big" tries to take over the Shubert Theatre -- but Brennan winds up commandeering the show''s signature giant piano keyboard to play "Who Could Ask for Anything More."

* "Smokey Joe''s Cafe" (in whose theatre, the Virginia, the benefit was performed) also vented some spleen good-naturedly. Putting new lyrics to one of the show''s Leiber & Stoller hits, they reminded folks that their big number on Tony Awards night was bumped to make way for, yes, "Busker Alley." They also noted that while they were accorded no Tony Awards, they''re currently selling out -- "how about you?"

* With tongue in cheek, the cast of "Sunset Boulevard" showed the alleged "original conception" for the dirgelike song "The Greatest Star of All," performing it as a peppy Bob Fosse-esque number, complete with bowler hats and white gloves. Betty Buckley capped the number by appearing in a bustier, black tights and a curly red wig -- a startling reminder of how many comparatively dour parts she''s played.

* Disney''s "Beauty and the Beast" used the "Oliver!" song "Who Will Buy?" to poke fun at its own imposing lobby shop. "Won''t you buy this wonderful lunchbox," one salesperson crooned. ". . . Disney''s new Thighmaster will make you look just like Gaston!"

* On a more soulful note, what looked like the majority of the 75-member cast of "Show Boat" performed the elegiac choral piece "Here Is My Prayer," which turned into a hand-clapping gospel number "Are You Ready for a Miracle." The audience, united in the fight against AIDS, plainly was.

 

The event was emceed by Mario Cantone of "The Tempest," directed and choreographed by Michael Lichtefeld, and produced by Michael Graziano, Tom Viola and Maria DiDia.

Runners-up for the fundraising award: "Phantom" and "Miss Saigon" collected $90,000; "Sunset" and "Show Boat" gathered "$89,000; "Les Miserables" took in $84,000. Off-Broadway, "Sylvia" collected $12,800.

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