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August 23, 2004

MEGAN SIKORA Garners Legendary Gypsy Robe For DRACULA

Kicking Off 2004-2005 Broadway Season

Megan Sikora, who is currently appearing in Broadway’s newest musical, DRACULA , is the latest recipient of Equity's famous "Gypsy Robe." The colorful icon was presented to Ms. Sikora, who is a Dance Captain and Swing in the show, at a special backstage ceremony at the Belasco Theatre on August 19, 2004, recreating an historic, theatrical ritual that began on Broadway over 50 years ago.

Megan has appeared in a number of Broadway shows, including WONDERFUL TOWN, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, and 42ND STREET.

"Receiving the Gypsy Robe for Dracula felt like a rite of passage into the history of Broadway Chorines. I have always been in shows with people who have done 12 and 13 shows. I never thought I would be wearing it on my 4th. I wish more people knew about the Gypsy Robe and what it stands for. Broadway shows would be nothing without the sweat and perseverance of the Chorus. I am proud to be a member of the chorus and proud to have had the honor of winning the Gypsy Robe. Here's to all the ensembles of all Broadway shows here and on the road for showing up and making history everyday."

Terry Marone, Director of the Gypsy Robe, introduced David Lowenstein, who recently donned the Gypsy Robe for THE FROGS. Joining in the celebration were previous robe winners, including Rommy Sandhu (Bombay Dreams), Melanie Vaughn (SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, PARADE), Joyce Chittick (SEUSSICAL, CABARET), Jennifer Cody (URINETOWN), and Mindy Cooper (TITANTIC). Terry introduced Equity Chorus Councillor Thomas Jay Miller and Communications Director David Lotz, who introduced AEA’s new Membership Education/Outreach Coordinator, Amy Dolan. Gloria Rosenthal, the Robe’s Historian, and Helen Guditis, Broadway Theatre Institute, also were in attendance.

After explaining the robe’s history, David presented the robe to Megan, who donned the garment and swept around the stage three times according to the robe’s tradition.

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.

Photos and a list of robe recipients may be viewed by clicking here.





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