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    Posted January 31, 2012

Gypsy Robe

J.D. Webster Receives AEA's Coveted Gypsy Robe in THE GERSHWINS' PORGY AND BESS

Kearran Giovanni and J.D. Webster
Photo: Walter McBride

J.D. Webster, a chorus member in THE GERSHWINS' PORGY AND BESS, has received AEA's coveted Gypsy Robe. The colorful garment was presented to Mr. Webster on opening night (Thursday, January 12, 2012) at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

Recreating a time-honored tradition that began more than 60 years ago, the ceremony began as the large cast assembled onstage. Equity's National Chorus Business Representative David Westphal welcomed everyone and introduced AEA First V.P. Paige Price and Robe Historian Gloria Rosenthal. Then, David invited company members who were making their Broadway debuts to step forward, where they proudly posed for photos.

Next, Gypsy Robe volunteer Terry Marone invited past recipients of the robe to be acknowledged, including: Pi Douglass, Bill Nable, Adrian Bailey, as well as PORGY AND BESS cast members Nikki Rene Daniels and Carmen Ruby Floyd. The excitement continued to build as Ms. Marone introduced Kearran Giovanni, who received the robe for HUGH JACKMAN: ON BROADWAY.

J.D. Webster, Nikki Renee Daniels
Photo: Walter McBride

Ms. Giovanni recited the robe's history and described the time-honored ritual of passing it along to the Chorus member with the most Broadway musical chorus credits. And then, she announced the newest recipient: J.D. Webster. J.D. has previously appeared on Broadway in WONDERFUL TOWN, RAGTIME and SHOW BOAT.

Appreciative shout-outs and applause filled the theatre, as J.D. donned the garment and circled the stage three times, while cast members reached out to touch the robe and receive its blessing. Westphal wrapped up the ceremony with a joyful "Welcome to Broadway, PORGY AND BESS."

Audra McDonald, J.D. Webster, Norm Lewis
Photo: Walter McBride

Click here for more Gypsy Robe information...

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