The 19th Annual Gypsy Of The Year Raises $3,927,000

The 19th Annual GYPSY OF THE YEAR COMPETITION announced a total of $3,927,000 had been raised by the over 64 participating Broadway, Off-Broadway, and National Tour companies to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. This beats the previous record of $3,420,000 set in 2004.

To date, the 19 editions of GYPSY OF THE YEAR COMPETITION have raised a combined total of  $36,698,000to benefit BC/EFA.

Tom Viola, executive director of BC/EFA, said, “I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the community for their truly generous, indeed heroic, efforts following the strike. There is no other community, no other business or industry, which has joined hands in a grassroots fundraising effort as the theatrical community has with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

“Together we have indeed made a difference in the lives of thousands: those in and out of “the business” who depend on the social services of The Actors’ Fund; as well as over 400 food banks, health clinics and AIDS and family service organizations across the country who benefit from your generous fundraising efforts on behalf of BC/EFA.”

This year’s GYPSY OF THE YEAR COMPETITION started off with a special opening number in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the original Broadway production of West Side Story. The number, a medley of songs from the show, featured two time Tony Award winner, Chita Rivera (Anita) and her original West Side Story co-stars including Mickey Callan (Riff),Carol Lawrence (Maria), Ken LeRoy (Bernardo), Jamie Sanchez (Chino) and Reri Grist (Consuelo).

They were joined by cast members from the run of the 1957 landmark production including: 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 legendary gypsies were joined by gypsies from currently running shows.

Reri Grist, who became a pioneering opera star in Europe following her time with West Side Story, closed this year’s competition with a special version of the now classic ballad “Somewhere,” a number she first introduced to the world in 1957 on the stage of the Winter Garden Theatre.

The original production of West Side Story, produced by Robert E. Griffth and Harold Prince, conceived and directed byJerome Robbins, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim opened on September 26, 1957 ran for 732 performances, closing on June 27, 1959.  Mr. Robbins won the Tony Awardâ for Best Choreography.

The GYPSY OF THE YEAR opening number, which recreated the original Jerome Robbins choreography, was staged and directed by Joshua Bergasse with musical direction by Ben Cohn.

This year the Jersey Boys National Tour – “The Sherry Production” raised the most money of any show this period with$327,403!.

This year, 17 national touring shows raised together a record breaking $1.7 million, leading the way to this year’s overall record breaking total!

THE GYPSY OF THE YEAR COMPETITION is the culmination of a period of intensive fundraising where New York’s most talented “gypsies,” chorus members from Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, join in a competition/variety show as six weeks of intensive fundraising by the community come to a close.

This year’s competition ended with the following dollar figures:


Second Runner-up                Mary Poppins                                    $120,888
First Runner-up                      Legally Blonde                                 $171,058
Top Fundraiser                      Wicked                                               $208,406

National Touring Shows:

Second Runner-up                Wicked – Los Angeles                    $204,061
First Runner-up                      Jersey Boys – Chicago                   $293,672
Top Fundraiser                      Jersey Boys – the “Sherry” tour      $327,403

Special awards were given for the top fundraising Broadway play, Off-Broadway company, and touring company. This year the top fundraising play wasThe Ritz with $139,513. Altar Boyztook the Off-Broadway award for raising$36,006

The results of this year’s presentation awards were:

First Runner Up (TIE):       “Stomp-adu” – the combined companies of  Stomp & Xanadu and The Ritz

Winner:  The Color Purple

Jackie Hoffman (Xanadu), Bob Saget (The Drowsy Chaperone) and Mary Testa (Xanadu)hosted this year’s event withRosie Perez (The Ritz), David Hyde Pierce (Curtains) and Brian Stokes Mitchell joining them onstage during the awards presentation.

This year’s celebrity judges included F. Murray Abraham (Mauritius) Tony Award winning choreographer Rob Ashford;Claire Danes (Pygmalion); Tony Award winning director Des McAnuff;  Martha Plimpton (Cymbeline); John Tartaglia (The Disney Channel’s Johnny and the Sprites), BC/EFA major donor Marion Duckworth Smith and Ned Walker, Senior Vice-President of Worldwide Communications of Continental Airlines.

This year’s presentation awards included

  • The Color Purple performed an inspiring number featuring The Sounds of Blackness song “Pressure.” The number was created, directed, and choreographed by company member James Harkness.
  • Seth Rudetsky and company members from the recently concluded production of The Ritz, recreating legendary gypsy mishaps including one night during a production of West Side Story, where the actress playing Maria accidentally fired the prop gun at Chino who then “died” on stage, the only time in the run of the show where that happened.
  • The companies of Xanadu and Stomp came together as “Stomp-adu” for a rousing,  audience pleasing a capella version of the Sandi Thom song “I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker with Flowers in My Hair”.

Other highlights from this year’s presentations included:

  • Three skits made humorous reference to the 19-day strike, including Rent,A Chorus Line and Curtains which presented cast members as representatives from The League and Local One playing “Family Feud.”
  • The cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee sang a parody of “The Bitch of Living” entitled “The Bitch of Aging” about being too old to be cast in Spring Awakening, even though some of them weren’t even 25 years old.
  • Avenue Q presented an original number, “The Slow Moving Tourists of Times Square
  • The cast of the now closed Off-Broadway show Frankenstein poked fun at their own short-lived run and then announced they raised a total of $10,000 even though only 5,000 saw the show during its entire run.
  • The company of Mary Poppins performing “The Eagle & The Hawk featuring choreography by company member Tony Mansker.
  • Legally Blonde performing “OMIGOD… I Did It Again” which featured Laura Belle Bundy engaging in scandalous behavior, including punching noted Broadway photographer Bruce Glikas, doing drugs, going to rehab, and even performing a poorly rehearsed version of a comeback song ala Britney Spear at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards.


Continental Airlines, the official airline of BC/EFA, The MAC AIDS Fund, The New York Times