Chicago Wins Gypsy of the Year; Steady Rain Smashes Fundraising Record

By Robert Viagas
December 8, 2009

Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig made a unique place for themselves in the history of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fundraising Dec. 8, when it was announced that they had raised $1,549,953 in the 21st annual Gypsy of the Year competition in six weeks of curtain appeals at their hit Broadway drama, A Steady Rain.

Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig made a unique place for themselves in the history of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fundraising Dec. 8, when it was announced that they had raised $1,549,953 in the 21st annual Gypsy of the Year competition in six weeks of curtain appeals at their hit Broadway drama, A Steady Rain.The figure is not only the most ever collected by a single show in the history of BC/EFA fundraisers, but totaled more than was raised in entire Broadway-wide Gypsy of the Year events in any of its first nine years.

To a standing ovation, Jackman thanked "all [the people] we bullied, cajoled and slept with" to collect the money.

The Steady Rain bonanza boosted the 2009 Gypsy of the Year total to a record $4,630,695, far outdistancing the previous record of $3,927,000 set in pre-Recession 2007. This year's event was held Dec. 7 and 8 at the Palace Theatre, hosted by Julie White and Seth Rudetsky.

Actors from the long-running Broadway production of Chicago won the Gypsy of the Year's Best Stage Presentation award with a gay-themed interpretation of the West Side Story song "I Have a Love," titled "9th Avenue Story," and featuring Ryan Lowe performing the Maria part in a startlingly powerful falsetto that brought down the house.

First runner-up for Best Stage Presentation went to the actual West Side Story for "Gypsy Nation," in which the chorus danced in a series of different, tightly-choreographed styles.

Other fundraising awards:

Top National Tour fundraisers: Rent with $242,383, Wicked (Emerald City Tour) with $237,000, Jersey Boys (Sherry Company) with $225,225, and Jersey Boys with $190,466.

Top Broadway Musical Fundraisers: Phantom of the Opera with $161,060, Billy Elliot with $153,677, Hair with $153,648, and Wicked with $147,611.

Runner-up for Broadway Play fundraiser was Superior Donuts with $76,309.

The top fundraiser among Off-Broadway shows was Avenue Q, which gathered $27,918.

Totals may change slightly once audited.

As has become custom, 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.

Additional details about the skits and musical numbers will be posted on Playbill.com on Dec. 9.

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Since 1989 the 21 editions of Gypsy of the Year have raised a combined total of $40,360,000 to benefit BC/EFA, which distributes the money to more than 400 service organizations and charities.

Judges for this year's event included Jim Norton (Finian's Rainbow), Montego Glover (Memphis), Marcia Milgrom Dodge (Ragtime), Michael Cerveris (In the Next Room), Ana Gaysteyer and John Glover (The Royal Family), Paul Libin of Jujamcyn, and philanthropist Marion Duckworth Smith.