Wicked, Lion King Take Top Honors in 2004 Gypsy of the Year

News   Wicked, Lion King Take Top Honors in 2004 Gypsy of the Year
 
Wicked may not have won the Tony Award this year, but it snatched top fundraising honors in the 16th Annual Gypsy of the Year Competition Dec. 6-7.
The Phantom of the Opera skit at the 16th annual
The Phantom of the Opera skit at the 16th annual "Gypsy of the Year" competition Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The company of the "Oz"-inspired show raked in $365,918 toward a $2,754,631 total for the fundraising event to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

The buff dancers of The Lion King impressed the judges, winning the coveted award for best skit.

The winners were announced Dec. 7 at the Neil Simon Theatre.

Gathered by 50 Broadway, Off-Broadway and touring shows over the past six weeks in nightly curtain-call appeals, the total is the second-highest ever, behind 2003's $3,359,000 but ahead of 2002's $2,265,000. The Wicked contribution is greater than the overall total for the entire event in 1991.

The 2004 "Gypsy of the Year" competition gave two performances, Dec. 6 and 7 at the Neil Simon Theatre, hosted by Bruce Vilanch, currently appearing at the theatre as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. The event featured a mixture of satirical skits, inspirational songs, and virtuoso dance numbers, all performed by the "gypsies," the Broadway dancers who go from show to show and provide singing and dancing support to the leads. This year's event featured several stars as well, including Whoopi Goldberg, Brooke Shields, Dame Edna and, just for fun, Joan Rivers. Wicked also was honored as runner-up for best skit, imagining Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Madonna starring as, respectively, Galinda, Nessa and Madame Morrible in a Las Vegas production of their show.

Fundraising runners-up among musicals were Avenue Q ($154,208), Mamma Mia! ($154,032), The Phantom of the Opera ($151,124), The Lion King ($150,822) and Rent ($144,179).

The top fundraising national tour was Mamma Mia! ($147,929), the top fundraising Off-Broadway show was Menopause, The Musical ($13,200), and the top fundraising Broadway play was 12 Angry Men ($110,724). Shields quipped that the last two made a good pair: menopausal women and angry men.

BC/EFA channels the money to a variety of activities that support those living with AIDS, and support research into a cure.

Company members perform in the opening number of the 16th annual "Gypsy of the Year" competition
Company members perform in the opening number of the 16th annual "Gypsy of the Year" competition Photo by Aubrey Reuben
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