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November 10, 2003

Chenowith, Howard, Menzel

Kristen Chenoweth, Robe recipient Kisha Howard (center) and Idina Menzel
photo by Walter McBride/Retna

Kisha Howard

Kisha Howard models the Robe
photo by Walter McBride/Retna

Kristen Chenoweth, Kisha Howard

Kristen Chenoweth and other WICKED cast members touch the Robe as Kisha Howard makes the rounds.
photo by Walter McBride/Retna

53 Year Old Tradition Embellishes Broadway' s Newest Musical on Opening Night

Chorus member Kisha Howard donned Equity's famous "Gypsy Robe" at the opening night of WICKED at the Gershwin Theatre. The colorful garment was presented to her by Brian J. Marcum(THE BOY FROM OZ), recreating an historic, theatrical ritual that began on Broadway over 50 years ago. Kisha's Broadway credits include HIGH SOCIETY, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, and AIDA, as well as the National Tour of SOUTH PACIFIC.

Terry Marone kicked off the ceremony at the Gershwin Theatre, introducing Equity's 2nd and 3rd Vice Presidents, Jean-Paul Richard and Ira Mont, Equity Chorus Councillors Bill Bateman, Thomas J. Miller and Mary Leigh Stahl, Robe Historian Gloria Rosenthal, Equity Communications Director David Lotz and Business Representative Louise Foisy. Equity Executive Director Alan Eisenberg, who was traveling on Equity business, sent his best wishes for the opening night.

Brian J. Marcum, the previous recipient from THE BOY FROM OZ, explained the rules and history of the robe before announcing the "winner." Kisha circled the stage three times in accordance with the robe tradition to bring "blessings" to the new musical.

Other robe honorees were present, including Carmen Ruby Floyd (AVENUE Q), Roger Preston Smith (PETER PAN), Jack Dabdoub (SHOWBOAT), James Dybas (PACIFIC OVERTURES, SCARLET PIMPERNEL) and Sara Gettlefinger (NINE).

After the ceremony, Kisha explained "this is my Tony Award ! I was really surprised, given the caliber of talent that I'm working with. It was absolutely amazing for me - I'm speechless."

The next Gypsy Robe will be presented at the opening of TABOO.

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