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    Posted February 20, 2008

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Gypsy Robe
Little Mermaid / NY Times

NY Times "Lens" Feb 20, 2008

Sara Krulwich./The New York Times

On opening night of any Broadway musical with chorus members, the “gypsy robe” changes hands. In 1950, Bill Bradley, a member of the “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” chorus, gave a robe worn by another chorus member, or gypsy, to a member of the cast of “Call Me Madam” as an opening-night present. A rose from Ethel Merman’s costume was later pinned to that robe — pale pink with white feathers — and the robe was passed to someone in “Guys and Dolls.” A tradition was born. When the robe is passed, the gypsy with the most Broadway credits puts it on and moves around the stage counterclockwise three times, while members of the cast and crew touch it for luck. Nancy Schaefer, left, wardrobe supervisor of “The Little Mermaid,” and Eddie Harrison, assistant wardrobe supervisor, sew a merman tail (the mermen were eliminated after the costumes were made) to the robe in the basement of the Lunt-Fontanne Theater. Its next recipient: “In the Heights.”

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