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November 23, 2004

Equity’s Gypsy Robe Tradition is Feted at City Lore’s “People’s Hall of Fame” Awards

Ninth Annual Ceremony Honors Terry Marone (Gypsy Robe “Director”) and ACCA (Advisory Committee on Chorus Affairs For Keeping Tradition Alive!

CITY LORE, New York’s Center for Urban Folk Culture, inducted “keepers” of the famous Equity “Gypsy Robe” into New York City’s People’s Hall of Fame, at a festive ceremony at the Museum of the City of New York, on Thursday, November 18, 2004. The ninth annual awards honored Terry Marone, who is the “Director” of the Gypsy Robe, along with Equity’s ACCA (Advisory Committee on Chorus Affairs), for “keeping the 50-year old tradition of the Gypsy Robe alive and well on Broadway.”

Broadway legend, Ann Reinking presented City Lore’s “Token” to Terry and the ACCA, and spoke about her own background as a dancer. She emphasized the tremendous dedication, spirit and energy that it takes to be in the chorus of a Broadway musical.

Accepting the award, Terry stated: “I am very honored to accept this award on behalf of ACCA and Broadway Gypsies. About 20 years ago, I came across a quote: Build a dream, and the dream will build you. My dream was to give the Gypsy Robe to a chorus member on the opening night of every night Broadway musical, to make the chorus “gypsies” more important to the Broadway community. Singers and dancers do not get Tony Awards or Drama Desk Awards, but now we do have the Gypsy Robe Award, which is theirs alone. To me, the chorus is the backbone of a Broadway musical.”

Terry introduced Equity President Patrick Quinn, who acknowledged Terry’s contributions to Actors’ Equity, where she worked for 40 years as Outside Business Representative, dedicating herself to the chorus. He then read the following statement from Equity Second Vice President Jean-Paul Richard:

“It is with great regret that I cannot be there with you to participate in this joyous celebration of the great tradition of the Gypsy Robe as I am currently in Orlando fighting for the rights and working conditions of the chorus in the Disney World negotiations. If the Advisory Committee on Chorus Affairs are the guardians of the Gypsy Robe, then Terry Marone is its’ guardian angel. She has worked tirelessly in her efforts to keep the Gypsy Robe tradition alive and now, with the assistance of ACCA, that tradition has been secured for the future of Broadway chorus musicals.”

As Second Vice President Of Actors’ Equity and Chair of the ACCA, and, especially, on behalf of the chorus men and women of Equity, I extend sincere thanks and appreciation to City Lore for this great honor. I also wish to thank Staff members Louise Foisy and David Lotz and especially Chorus Councillors Tom Miller and Bill Bateman for their dedication and commitment to keeping the tradition alive.

Terry also introduced Councillor Rebecca Kim Jordan, who is a Vice-Chair of the ACCA. While holding the award (modeled after a NYC Subway Token!), Terry announced that it would be placed in the Gypsy Robe display on the second floor at Actors’ Equity Association for all members to see.

A highlight of the presentation, Terry invited past robe recipients to the stage, where each Gypsy Robe “alumnus” announced his/her name and the name of the show that they were in.
They included:
Terry Biolino (Illya Darling), Edie Cowan, Austin Colyer (Singin in the Rain), Jack Dabdoub (Showboat), Pi Douglass (Jesus Christ, Superstar, Selling of the President, The Wiz), James Dybas (Scarlet Pimpernel, Pacific Overtures), Harvey Evans (Oklahoma!), Robin Haynes (Blood Brothers), Joanne Hunter (Kiss Me Kate, Steel Pier), Michelle Kittrell (Urban Cowboy), Zoe Lam (Chu Chem), Baayork Lee, Elizabeth Mills (Boys From Syracuse), Judine Somerville (Hairspray), Peter Samuel (Marie Christine), Roger Preston Smith (Peter Pan), and Eric Jordon Young (The Look of Love).

Terry especially thanked Gloria Rosenthal, the Robe’s Historian, for her dedication and support in keeping the tradition of the robe alive; and Steve Zeitlin, the Executive Director of CITY LORE.

-David Lotz

City Lore Honorees: Terry Marone, Tina Pratt, Aurelia Fernandez Marure and Margarita Larios, Jim Power, Reverend Deacon Edgar W. Hopper

Brava! Terry Marone and the proud Gypsy Robe Recipients

Harvey Evans, Eric Jordan Young, Zoe Lam, Joanne Hunter, Jack Dabdoub, Robin Haynes

Edie Cowan, Nancy Lynch, Pi Douglass, Michelle Kittrell, Richard Korthaze, Peter Samuel, Terry Marone

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