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    Posted November 21, 2008

Bully for Billy!

Greg Graham wins the robe

AEA's Gypsy Robe Goes to BILLY ELLIOT, THE MUSICAL chorus member Greg Graham!

Greg Graham was presented Actors' Equity Association's coveted Gypsy Robe prior to the opening night of the critically acclaimed BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL, Thursday November 13th, 2008 backstage at the Imperial Theatre.

Recreating an historic event, fellow cast members stood by as the ceremony began. . Equity's National Chorus Business Representative David Westphal first introduced performers who were making their Broadway debut, and then the performers who were joining Equity. Also participating in the ceremony was AEA Third Vice President Ira Mont.

Mr. Westphal noted that the Gypsy Robe tradition began at the Imperial Theatre more than 50 years ago, when Bill Bradley, a member of the chorus of GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, sent a dressing gown to a chorus member in CALL ME MADAM.

Lavishly decorated with mementos from recent Broadway musicals, the robe is given to the cast member with the most Broadway chorus credits. Greg has done five Broadway shows, including CHICAGO, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, FOSSE, HAIRSPRAY, and NEVER GONNA DANCE.

In attendance were former robe recipients Eileen Casey, Austin Colyer, James Dybas, Pi Douglass, David Eggers, Harvey Evans, Merwyn Foard, Michelle Kittrell, Bill Nable, Jennifer Smith, Patrick Wetzel, and Brynn Williams.

Eamon Foley who received the robe in 13 A NEW MUSICAL, following tradition, stepped into the circle and announced the winner, Greg Graham, who circled the stage three times as company members touched the robe to receive its "blessing." Greg said, "this was a special moment for me. I've worked very hard for the shows I've done on Broadway, and this was a nice pat on the back to myself. Lots of extremely talented Gypsies have received the robe. Iits nice knowing I'm in that company. Plus, I hope it inspired some of the kids in BILLY ELLIOT to one day get the honor as well!"

Greg and the Billys: (L-R) David Alvarez, Kiril Kulish, and Trent Kowalik
Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

A show of hands from Equity's newest members ! /SPAN>
Click for larger image
Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

Brynn Williams, Eamon Foley, from 13
Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

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