Posted May 2, 2012
S’ Wonderful, S’Marvelous, S’ Gypsy Robe®!
Iconic Garment Goes to Cameron Adams on Opening Night of Nice Work If You Can Get It
Broadway’s oldest backstage tradition was recreated on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, when AEA’s iconic Gypsy Robe® was presented to Cameron Adams on the opening night of NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT at the Imperial Theatre.
Equity's National Chorus Business Representative David Westphal welcomed everyone on stage and invited company members to form a large circle to begin the ceremony. Then, two cast members who were making their Broadway debuts (Kaitlyn Davidson, Stephanie Martignetti) came to the center for a flashy photo-op.
Westphal then introduced AEA Executive Director Mary McColl, AEA’s First VP Paige Price and Third VP Ira Mont to the excited company.
David Westphal, Cameron Adams
Gypsy Robe® volunteer Terry Marone invited prior Robe recipients to come to center stage. A record number of Robe recipients – 17, in fact – came forward to announce the show’s they received the Robe in: Adrian Bailey, Jim Borstelmann, Harvey Evans, David Eggers, Graysan Kingsberry, Richard Korthaze, Kevin Ligon, Ritchie Mastascusa, Michael X. Martin, Eric Sciotto, Megan Sikora, Roger Preston Smith, Jennifer Smith, Dennis Stowe, Andre Ward, J.D. Webster and James Brown III, who just received the Robe in GHOST.
In accordance with the Gypsy Robe® tradition, James recited the history of the Robe and announced the newest recipient: Cameron Adams. Cameron blushed with excitement as she donned the garment and circled the stage three times counter-clockwise so the cast could receive the Robe’s "blessing."
Cameron’s previous Broadway chorus credits include: THE MUSIC MAN, OKLAHOMA!, HAIRSPRAY, CRY-BABY, SHREK, PROMISES, PROMISES, and HOW TO SUCCEED.
Following the ceremony, Cameron said "I was thrilled to be awarded the Gypsy Robe® for Nice Work If You Can Get It! It's so exciting to me to now be a small part of an amazing tradition in theater history. I am a true Broadway gypsy at heart and proud of it!
Mary McColl, Cameron Adams, Paige Price, Ira Mont
The Gypsy Robe® began in 1950, when Bill Bradley, in the chorus of GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, borrowed a dressing gown from Chorus member Florence Baum and sent it to a friend in CALL ME MADAM on opening night (Oct 12, 1950) saying it was worn by all the Ziegfeld beauties and would "bless" the show. A cabbage rose from Ethel Merman's gown was added and the Robe was passed along to next Broadway musical on opening night. The tradition evolved so that the Robe is now presented to the "gypsy" who has performed the most Broadway musicals on a chorus contract. Along the way, the Robe is decorated, painted, patched, stitched, and signed by everyone in the show, becoming a fanciful patchwork for an entire Broadway season.
Recognizing their cultural and historic value, Gypsy Robes can now be viewed at two of Equity's Offices. The National Headquarters in New York now houses two of the historic Robes. The second floor Audition Center's case displays the Robe from the 1982-1983 season. The 2007-2008 Robe, dedicated to Broadway veteran Adrian Bailey, can be viewed on the fourteenth floor Council lobby.
The Robe from the 2003-2004 season is now displayed in the Orlando office and the robe from 2005-2006 season is displayed in the Chicago office. Members can stop by to view the Robe during business hours. Periodically, the Robes will be rotated so members may have the chance to see various Robes. Robes are also on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, The Museum of the City of New York and the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts.