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Rommy Sandhu and Manu Narayan



Rommy Sandhu with the Gypsy Robe


All photos by
Walter McBride/Retna

May 4, 2004

ROMMY SANDHU Garners Legendary Gypsy Robe In BOMBAY DREAMS

“Damn Proud To Be A Gypsy,” says Sandhu

Rommy Sandhu, who is currently appearing in Broadway’s newest musical, BOMBAY DREAMS, is the newest recipient of Equity's famous "Gypsy Robe." The colorful icon was presented to Rommy, who is a Swing and Fight Captain in the show, at a special backstage ceremony at The Broadway Theatre on Thursday, April 29, 2004, recreating an historic, theatrical ritual that began on Broadway over 50 years ago.

Rommy has appeared in a number of Broadway shows, including OKLAHOMA!, ON THE TOWN, THE LIFE and ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. “I was truly honored to receive this symbol of our unity and history as a Union. Knowing I share this honor with artists whose work I have always respected and admired makes me damn proud to be a Gypsy,” he said. “Thanks again for being there for this special moment!”

Terry Marone, Director of the Gypsy Robe, introduced Merwin Foard, who only last week, donned the Gypsy Robe in ASSASSINS. Joining in the celebration were previous robe winners, including Harvey Evans, Jack Dabdoub, Bill Nabel and Richard Korthaze. Equity Chorus Councillor Thomas Jay Miller and Scott Watanabe, Gypsy Robe Historian Gloria Rosenthal, and Equity staff members Zalina Hoosein and David Lotz also attended.

Marone delivered a congratulatory message from Equity Executive Director Alan Eisenberg, who could not attend the ceremony due to the ongoing Production Contract negotiations.

After explaining the robe’s history, Merwin presented the robe to Rommy, who donned the garment and swept around the stage three times, as everyone in the cast touched the robe to bring “blessings” to the new musical.

The Gypsy Robe began as a lark in 1950, when Bill Bradley, in the chorus of GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, borrowed a dressing gown and sent it to a friend in CALL ME MADAM on opening night (Oct 12, 1950) saying it was worn by all the Ziegfield 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 done 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, Actors' Equity recently donated two robes into permanent collections at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History; three robes are permanently loaned to the Museum of the City of New York. Eight "elderly" robes are still maintained by the Union at its national headquarters on West 46th Street, and one is always on display in the Equity Audition Center.





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