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March 25, 2005

Michelle Kittrell Dons Gypsy Robe

Things shook up backstage at the Palace Theatre when the Gypsy Robe was presented to ALL SHOOK UP chorus member Michelle Kittrell. The time honored ceremony, which began on Broadway over 50 years ago, was held before the opening night performance on March 24, 2005.

The colorful robe, embellished with mementos from Broadway musicals, is presented to the cast member who has the most Broadway chorus credits. Michelle, who embodies the dedication and professionalism of a true “Broadway gypsy,” received the robe from SPAMALOT’s Emily Hsu. Michelle’s numerous credits include FOOTLOOSE, GREASE, HAIRSPRAY, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, SEUSSICAL, SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS. This was the second time she was given the robe, having won it for URBAN COWBOY.

Gypsy Robe director Terry Marone kicked off the ceremony by introducing robe historian Gloria Rosenthal. Emily, having received the robe a week earlier, then took over giving a brief recap of the robe’s history, from its humble beginnings when chorus member Bill Bradley sent a borrowed dressing gown to a friend in a musical on opening night to the time honored tradition it is today.

In accordance with tradition, Michelle donned the robe and circled the stage three times as the crowd applauded and touched the robe. Dozens of excited cast members, stars and VIPs were on hand for the ceremony including Cheyenne Jackson, Jenn Gambatese and the full cast and crew of ALL SHOOK UP. Among the other well-wishers were Harvey Fierstein, and past robe recipients including: ALL SHOOK UP cast member Jenny Lynn Suckling (DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES), Bill Nabel (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST), Rommy Sandhu (BOMBAY DREAMS), Harvey Evans (SCARLET PIMPERNEL, OKLAHOMA!), Joanne Hunter (SIDE SHOW, KISS ME KATE!), and John Jellison (CAPE MAN). Also on hand for the ceremony were Equity Councillor Tom Miller, David Lotz, Equity’s National Director of Communications, and Business Rep Keith Sklar.

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