Broadway Gypsies Strut Their Stuff in Annual Gypsy of the Year Competition Dec. 5-6

By Andrew Gans
05 Dec 2011

Host Seth Rudetsky at the 2010 Gypsy of the Year
Host Seth Rudetsky at the 2010 Gypsy of the Year
Photo by Krissie Fullerton

The 23rd Annual Gypsy of the Year competition — benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS — plays The New Amsterdam Theatre, home of the Disney-Cameron Mackintosh musical Mary Poppins, Dec. 5 at 4:30 PM and Dec. 6 at 2 PM. Musician, actor and Playbill.com columnist Seth Rudetsky hosts.

The shows feature performances by 17 Broadway and Off-Broadway companies, a 40-year reunion of the original Broadway cast of Grease">Grease, a tribute to national touring troupes and appearances by more than 300 actors, singers and dancers.

The opening number boasts the original Broadway cast of Grease, reuniting for a special 40-year anniversary tribute. Among the stars returning to the stage from the popular Broadway musical are Barry Bostwick (Danny), Carole Demas (Sandy), Adrienne Barbeau (Betty Rizzo), Alan Paul (Teen Angel/Johnny Casino) and Walter Bobbie (Roger). Also joining the opening number reunion are original cast members Don Billett (Vince Fontaine), James Canning (Doody), Daniel Douglas (Burger Palace Boy), Katie Hanley (Marty), Tom Harris (Eugene Florczyk), Ilene Kristen (Patty Simcox), Joy Rinaldi (Pink Lady) and Mews Small (Frenchy).

This year's show also includes "an emotional final Gypsy of the Year appearance by the Broadway cast of Billy Elliot," which will close Jan. 8, 2012. According to BC/EFA, "During its three-year run, the company of Billy Elliot raised more than $1 million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS."



Other shows scheduled to perform at Gypsy of the Year include The Addams Family, Anything Goes, The Awesome 80s Prom, Chicago, Follies, How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Mary Poppins, Memphis, Naked Boys Singing, NEWSical the Musical, The Phantom of the Opera, Silence! The Musical, Sister Act and Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark.

Presenter Hugh Jackman
photo by Joan Marcus

Gypsy of the Year is the culmination of six weeks of intensive post-curtain fundraising by Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring companies. It's also a professional, polished talent show of singers and dancers ("gypsies") from the ensembles of Broadway shows. Awards are presented to the top fundraisers and for the best presentation during the two performances.

The competition's fundraising awards at the Tuesday, Dec. 6 performance will be presented by Hugh Jackman (Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway), Bernadette Peters (Follies) and Daniel Radcliffe (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying).

Celebrity presenters scheduled to appear at both shows include Nick Adams (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Danny Burstein (Follies), Russell Fischer (Jersey Boys), Beth Leavel (Standing on Ceremony: the Gay Marriage Plays), Judith Light (Other Desert Cities), Michele Mais (Rock of Ages), Jan Maxwell (Follies) and Patrick Page (Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark).

Judges include Stephanie J. Block (Anything Goes), director and choreographer Jeff Calhoun (Bonnie & Clyde, Newsies), Kim Cattrall (Private Lives), Nikki M. James (The Book of Mormon), Paul Libin (Executive Vice President of Jujamcyn Theaters and President of the BC/EFA Board of Trustees) and Tony Sheldon (Priscilla Queen of the Desert). Also joining the panel are Stephanie Toups and Karen Walter, who both won judging spots by being high bidders on exclusive VIP packages at the 26th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction in September.

Last year, Gypsy of the Year raised $3,776,720, pushing the competition's 22-year total to $44,136,720.

A limited number of $40 and $20 tickets remain. They can be purchased online at broadwaycares.org or by calling (212) 840-0770, ext. 268.

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Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation's leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised more than $195 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States. BC/EFA awards annual grants to more than 400 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of seven programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative and the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic.

For more information, visit Broadway Cares online at broadwaycares.org.