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April 29, 2005

“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” Gypsy Robe Goes To Alex Sanchez

Colorful Actors’ Equity Icon Symbolizes Chorus

Alex Sanchez, a chorus member in “Ian Fleming’s CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG” is the newest recipient of Equity’s famous Gypsy Robe. The colorful robe was presented to Mr. Sanchez during a backstage ceremony at the Hilton Theatre, on opening night (April 28th), recreating a time-honored tradition that began over 50 years ago.

Embroidered and embellished with mementos from recent Broadway musicals, the robe is given to the cast member who has the most Broadway chorus credits. Alex has appeared in numerous Broadway shows, including: BIG, CAROUSEL, FOLLIES, FOSSE, LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION!, ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, THE RED SHOES, and WONDERFUL TOWN.

Equity’s Gypsy Robe Director, Terry Marone, kicked off the festive celebration by introducing former robe recipients, including Jack Dabdoub (SHOWBOAT), Harvey Evans (OKLAHOMA!, SCARLET PIMPERNEL), Merwyn Foard (ASSASINS, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES) and William Ryall (HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS). She also introduced Equity Communications Director David Lotz; Equity Chorus Councillors Thomas Jay Miller and Scott Watanabe, and Theatre Museum founder Helen Guditis. Ms. Marone then introduced Laurie Griffith, who received the robe for THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA.

Circled by the entire cast and VIPs, Laurie described the Gypsy Robe’s origins and the ceremony before announcing the newest robe recipient: Alex Sanchez! Surprised and delighted, Alex put on the garment and then dashed around the stage three times as each cast member touched the robe for good luck.

Emphasizing their historical importance, Ms. Marone noted that robes are now on display at the Smithsonian Institute and the Museum of the City of New York. Another robe is on permanent display at the Equity Audition Center in New York City.

Alex dashes around the stage
Photo by Walter McBride

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