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    Posted December 9, 2009

FELA! Gypsy Robe Goes To Adesola Osakalumi

Adesola and Lillias White
Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

The cast, many of whom were making their Broadway debut, walked onto the stage. Their curiosity was peaked. Lillias White was in their midst, urging them to gather. Standing to one side was the elegant Bill T. Jones, arms crossed and smiling. Members of the crew were standing on the edges of the stage, waiting for what would surely be a memorable Gypsy Robe moment. It was Monday, November 23, 2009 and the opening night of FELA! on Broadway. The long standing tradition of the Gypsy Robe ceremony was about to begin.

Forming a circle, the FELA! cast listened as the history of the Gypsy Robe and its meaning was explained. Suddenly, the stage erupted with whoops and clapping and foot stomping. Introduced were former Gypsy Robe recipients James Dybas (the original PACIFIC OVERTURES and THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL), Jen Cody (SHREK and URINETOWN), AND Bill Nabel (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, MOST HAPPY FELLA). Standing in the circle and wearing the Robe was the most recent recipient, Joseph Medeiros, who had received the Robe for WHITE CHRISTMAS the night before. Joseph recounted how the Robe began and then named the new recipient - Adesola Osakalumi.

Adesola donned the Robe and ran counterclockwise so that each member of the cast and crew could touch the Robe for luck. The cast continued to celebrate with enthusiasm and excitement. This was the first time many of them had witnessed the Gypsy Robe Ceremony and the importance of the Robe tradition made the opening night all the more exciting.

Afterwards, Adesola commented, "This is the culmination of a long journey for me. It also has a very special and personal meaning for me. My family's record label was the first to distribute Fela's music in the United States. When I heard that this wonderful tribute to Fela was going to Broadway, I set my sights on being part of it. Now I have the honor of receiving the Gypsy Robe."

In attendance at the ceremony were Equity National Chorus Business Rep David Westphal, Business Rep (Broadway) Louise Foisy, Gypsy Robe Volunteer Terry Marone, Gypsy Robe Historian Gloria Rosenthal and Assistant to the Executive Director Joe Chiplock.

Joseph Medeiros
Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

Adesola and Bill T. Jones
Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

Adesola with co-stars Kevin Mambo, Sahr Ngaujah, Lillias White
Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

Cast member making their Broadway debuts
Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

More Gypsy Robe info...

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